Colorado Springs / Overland Park — PATHAR, Inc., an innovative new technology company focused on reinventing the way companies use social media data, announced today a Series A investment of just over $6.5 million led by Woodside O’Brien and joined by Chicago-based OCA Ventures and strategic angel investors. The financing will be used to expand PATHAR’s proprietary big data analytics capabilities and to extend these unique, industry-leading analytical models to support all aspects of social media influence campaigns. relevant domains
A San Francisco startup is the latest to join the trend of companies offering you an opportunity to bet on your own risk-worthiness.
Today, Ascend Consumer Financial announced a $1.5 million seed round and the launch of its inaugural product, RateRewards, which introduces dynamic pricing into consumer loans.
The company is reinventing “the whole concept of underwriting and risk assessment,” CEO Steve Carlson told me by phone.
At Ascend, consumers with so-so FICO credit scores of 580 to 660 have two choices for a three-year personal loan of up to $10,000.
They can take the standard loan with an interest rate ranging from about 25 percent to an upper limit of 36 percent, depending on their score and initial assessments of creditworthiness…
Let me hazard a guess that you think a real person has written what you’re reading. Maybe you’re right. Maybe not. Perhaps you should ask me to confirm it the way your computer does when it demands that you type those letters and numbers crammed like abstract art into that annoying little box.
Because, these days, a shocking amount of what we’re reading is created not by humans, but by computer algorithms. We probably should have suspected that the information assaulting us 24/7 couldn’t all have been created by people bent over their laptops.
It’s understandable. The multitude of digital avenues now available to us demand content with an appetite that human effort can no longer satisfy. This demand, paired with ever more sophisticated technology, is spawning an industry of “automated narrative generation.”
Options Away, the first company that empowers consumers to lock-in flight prices, announced a $3.5 million round of Series A funding led by Chicago-based OCA Ventures and joined by Thayer Ventures and Chicago’s Pritzker Group Venture Capital.
The financing will be used to further scale Options Away’s solution via even more aggressive sales, marketing and partnering, including expanding into international markets – and to further build out and refine its proprietary technology platform.
CEO and Founder Robert Brown said, “Our airfare “hold” product, has put Options Away at the forefront of the exciting airline big-data and traveler engagement space. While we have already partnered with some of the biggest names in travel, this funding, coupled with the reach of our new investment partners, will allow us to further leverage our core B2B/API solutions for the benefit of new global travel partners”.
Ian Drury, General Partner at OCA Ventures, added, “Options Away enables travel companies the ability to provide consumers with a valuable service – locking-in the price of a flight. This enables the provider to engage with customers throughout the hold period, building stickiness as well as the opportunity to sell ancillary products and services. The Options Away solution integrates seamlessly into the complex and competitive travel technology ecosystem, and has been adopted by an impressive set of leading travel partners in a very short period of time. We are very excited to partner with the Options Away management team, Thayer Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and an impressive group of angels to launch the ‘next big thing’ in online travel”.
Existing investors who participated in the round include a group of seasoned European travel industry entrepreneurs led by Iglu.com chairman Martyn Williams. Members include Andy Phillips, former CEO of Priceline International, and Richard Downs, CEO of Iglu.com. New strategic investors include Don Carty, Chairman of Virgin America and former Chairman and CEO of AMR (the parent company of American Airlines). Also new to this round is Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, the largest entrepreneurial digital startup hub in the US.
Joining existing Board Members Heidi Brown, Robert Brown and Martyn Williams will be Peter Ianello, Co-founder and General Partner of OCA Ventures, and former President and CEO of SBC Capital Markets and Jeff Jackson, Managing Director at Thayer Ventures and former CFO of Sabre Holdings. Options Away also announced the appointment of Adam Goldstein, CEO of Hipmunk, as an advisor.
Recently Options Away won the prestigious PhoCusWright People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Travel Distribution Summit. They also received a 2014 Chicago Innovation Award and hold the Eye for Travel Innovation Award from 2013.
Options Away was founded in 2012 by Robert and Heidi Brown, who act as CEO and CMO respectively. The management team is rounded out by Chief Product Officer and ex-Orbitz founding member Michael Harbin. For more information, visit http://www.optionsaway.com or follow on Twitter @optionsaway
Iris Mobile just raised $2.5 million from Chicago venture funds Origin Ventures, OCA Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels and Illinois Ventures and Champaign-based Serra Ventures.
The Chicago-based software company plans to double its staff to 60 this year, said new CEO Marc Grabowski. Iris Mobile, founded by former Motorola technologists, got its start with software that helps marketers automatically tailor their mobile-messaging ads to display properly on different types of phones connected to different carriers.
Now it has added the capability to allow advertisers to gather data from users’ mobile activity, such as browsing a site or shopping inside an app, and combine it with information about shoppers’ in-store activity.
Automated Insights — the Durham, North Carolina-based startup backed by the Associated Press, Samsung and Steve Case that has built technology to automatically take raw data and translate it into narratives that look like they’ve been written by a human — has been acquired by the $14 billion private equity firm Vista Equity Partners and portfolio company STATS, which focuses on sports data analysis.
Ai, as it calls itself, is probably most well known for powering content creation at investor AP, which in January said it’s producing 3,000 articles each quarter based on earnings reports and is going to ramp up its work with the company. When Anthony wrote about Ai, the company claimed it was producing hundreds millions of pieces of content for customers that also included Yahoo and Microsoft.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. “We aren’t disclosing the amount, but I will say two things about the financials,” Robbie Allen, CEO and founder of Automated Insights, tells me in an email. “Our shareholders are very happy with their return, and we were already in a strong financial position.” The company raised $5.5 million in a Series B round last summer with investors including the AP, Samsung, and Steve Case. relevant domains .
The company announced Tuesday it has raised $2.8 million in seed funding in a round led by Chicago-based OCA Ventures. That funding will go toward developing a commercial 3D printing machine as well as sales and marketing, said CEO Larry Kaplan.
Robert Swartz, an entrepreneur and IP consultant for the MIT Media Lab, founded the company and now is its chairman. He hired Kaplan, former CEO and president of Navteq who led that company through its IPO and sale to Nokia, as chief executive in June.
“OCA invested in Impossible Objects because it’s being led by an all-star team of Larry and Bob, who have a lot of experience building companies from early stage startups to IPO,” said Imran Ahmad, principal at OCA Ventures.
Can a mobile, social application bloom outside the Valley or other traditional tech hotspots? Raleigh, North Carolina-based WedPics has proven it can. The company, which makes a photo and video-sharing app for wedding couples and their guests, has now closed on $4.25 million in Series B funding led by Bullpen Capital, and is working on a second close that will see TV’s “Shark Tank” investor Barbara Corcoran participating via her new AngelList syndicate.
Participating in the round so far were OCA Ventures, Venture51, IDEA Fund Partners, Great Oaks, and angels including Adam Draper, Semil Shah, Jocelyn Goldfein, and others. Corcoran’s AngelList syndicate, launching on Monday, has asked for a $250,000 hold. relevant domains .
Yahoo Sports has found a way to make our beloved fantasy teams seem even more important. It’s turned to a tech company in North Carolina to auto-generate personalized articles about the thousands of fantasy football teams in its leagues. how to value domain name . For the third year Yahoo has had weekly recaps for each of the thousands of matchups in its leagues. It’s the kind of effort that would be impossible if Yahoo relied on human writers.
In 2013 the Durham-based start-up with about 30 employees published 300 million articles via its content-generating platform, Wordsmith. This year Automated Insights expects to auto-generate more than 1 billion articles for clients ranging from Yahoo Sports to Edmunds.com and the Associated Press.
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