Wanda to Bring Mobile Payments to Latin America. Telefónica‘s and MasterCard‘s latest joint venture now has a name: Wanda.
If you wonder what kind of fish it is, we already knew that the purpose of this partnership was to develop mobile financial solutions in Latin America. What we have now learned is that Wanda will be the consumer brand that will operate in the 12 Latin American countries in which Telefónica’s Movistar is present – and where it has 87 million clients. Mobile payments may be an emerging global trend thanks to their convenience, but it is even more interesting in Latin America, where a large portion of the population is still unbanked. This means that mobile wallets could have a huge appeal, even beyond people who have a bank account. “I am convinced that Wanda is headed toward becoming the leading force behind mobile payments in the region, driving economic growth and promoting financial inclusion,” said Richard Hartzell, MasterCard’s president for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Liked this? Crossfy, a Bridge Between Print and Digital. If you have attended Campus Party Brazil this week, you may have noticed a new name among the event sponsors: Crossfy.
Its tagline? ‘Augmented Reality for Print.’ Flybridge Expands in Brazil with New Hire. 23 February '12, 04:27pm Follow Flybridge Capital Partners has hired Sao Paulo-based American entrepreneur Daniel Hatkoff as an advisor, the early stage VC firm announced today.
Restorando Seals $3.2M in Series A. (peHUB) February 22, 2012 – Restorando, the leading online reservation platform for restaurants in Latin America, announced that it has secured $3.2 million in Series A funding.
The funding round is led by Emergence Capital Partners, a California-based venture capital firm focused on technology enabled services, with participation from Kaszek, a newly raised fund for Latin America by the founders of MercadoLibre, Atomico, the London-based firm founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, and Storm Ventures. Concurrent with the funding, Santi Subotovsky from Emergence Capital and Alex Mendez from Storm Ventures joined Restorando’s board of directors. Founded in 2010, Restorando enables restaurants to develop new sales channels to promote available tables and increase revenue, while making it easy and efficient for customers to make reservations online.
The company already has operations in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Doce Beleza cresce consolida-se no e-commerce de cosméticos. Restorando recebe US$ 3,2 milhões de vários fundos e foca no Brasil. Flybridge Capital Partners anuncia conselheiro para atuar no Brasil. Fundo CRP Empreendedor investirá milhões em empresas inovadoras no Sul e no Sudeste. Snackr For iPhone Is A “Pandora For News” Accel-Backed Freshdesk Wants To Take On Zendesk With Customer Support Platform. Freshdesk, which has raised $1 million in funding from Accel Partners, is debuting a new version of its cloud-based customer support platform today.
Similar to the leader in the space, Zendesk, the India-based startup aims to bring customer service to the cloud by offering a simple, online help desk and support ticketing application. With the new version of Freshdesk, customer service agents can support, update and assign projects directly from an email client, without needing to log in or use a mobile app. Agents simply email or forward a request to a Freshdesk unique email address and the request will be added to Freshdesk’s interface. Freshdesk automatically processes the command, makes the update, and sends the rest of the email to the appropriate customer. Walkie-Talkie App Voxer Popular With Investors, Too, Raising $15M to $20M At Up To $300M Valuation.
There have been a few walkie-talkie mobile apps that have come out on iOS and Android over the last year or two, but it wasn’t until last fall that one of them had a breakout moment.
Voxer suddenly hit it big with the young black community in Cleveland and a few other big cities last November. Since then, it has spread to the rest of the world, topping the app store and gaining a wide range of users – including venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road here in Silicon Valley. By which I mean, lots of VCs are both using it, and looking at investing in it. Voxer has spent the last couple months working on closing an angel round that it had left open, according to industry sources, while also working on its first venture funding. It’s raising $15-20 million at a pre-money valuation of $150 million, says one person. Among the attractions, beyond the usage numbers, are the company’s patents and tech about its live-streaming voice service.
Apple Acquires Chomp; App Store Search And Discovery To Be Completely Revamped. With the countdown underway to 25 billion total app downloads, there’s no disputing the success of Apple’s App Store.
We live in a world of hyperbole, but Apple’s entry into this space really has changed the entire mobile world. But the App Store is far from perfect. And with its immense scale, a few problems have been revealed. The biggest one is app discovery. Twilio Client iOS SDK Puts VoIP In Any App, Turning iPads Into Call Centers.
Cheap international calls, mobile gaming with simultaneous voice chat, distributed call centers.
Developers can create these and more with Twilio’s voice client iOS SDK that launches publicly today. The software development kit allows any iOS app to send and receive voice calls over 3G or Wi-Fi for a fraction of the price of traditional calling. I was actually briefed by Twilio over an iOS conference call app powered by the SDK (very cool), but the real fun begins when developers start surprising us with VoIP apps too crazy or disruptive to predict.
Twilio’s iOS SDK is such a doorway to innovation because it makes voice calling affordable for a much wider range of users. Traditional voice calls in the US cost 2 cents per minute, and in Europe can cost as much as 14 cents per minute. Apps can call any standard or Twilio number and be instantly connected. Scan Gets $1.7M From Google Ventures And Shervin Pishevar To Make QR Codes Actually Useful. The most impressive thing about Scan is that it, as a humble QR code app, has raised over $1.7 million in seed funding from, wait for it, Shervin Pishevar via Menlo Ventures (leading), Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund, Social + Capital Partnership, Transmedia Capital, Ludlow Ventures and angels Ariel Poler, Naval Ravikant of AngelPool, Jim Pallotta of Raptor Group and Gaga manager Troy Carter.
Provo, Utah-based Scan co-founder Garrett Gee finds QR codes as distasteful as the next person, but he believes in exceptions. He thinks Scan can go beyond its modest ambitions as a QR code and 1D barcode scanner and make those awkward squares that now serve as hopeful addendums to things like movie posters and conference badges ubiquitous and user-friendly. To this end, the Scan web interface allows normals to generate QR codes with no prior development experience. You can download Scan in the app store here. Nokia, Google Ventures And Others Put $10.7M In ‘AdSense For Images,’ Luminate. Luminate, a photo tagging service that has been called an “AdSense for Images,” has raised $10.7 million in Series C funding led by Nokia Growth Partners with participation from existing investors August Capital, CMEA Capital, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures.
With this new round of financing, Nokia Growth Partners, Managing Partner Paul Asel will join Luminate’s Board of Directors. Luminate, which rebranded from Pixazza last year, allows publishers to identify, tag and match products found within online images on their sites and then link them back to the inventories of Luminate’s network of advertisers. Tugg Lets Audiences Choose What’s Playing In Theaters. There’s a new startup called Tugg unveiling itself today that promises audience members that they can create their own movie screenings at local theaters.
It’s led by Nicolas Gonda, who was a producer on The Tree Of Life. When I asked why theaters would want to do this, Gonda and his co-founder Pablo Gonzalez (they’re CEO and COO, respectively) said via email that the idea came from Gonda’s work with filmmakers — this is supposed to complement existing distribution methods. “We felt there was a real opportunity to develop a platform where films and theaters could benefit from having a guaranteed audience in place for screenings, helping to reduce uncertainty about whether a film could find an audience,” they said.
WinZip iOS App Tops 500K Downloads In 8 Days. The WinZip iOS app, which lets you crack open .zip files from your iDevice, has only spent a short time on the App Store (and by short, I mean, like, a week). But there’s already plenty to brag about. The app saw over 30,000 downloads on Day One, and nearly 150,000 on Day Two. As of last night, WinZip has blown by the 500,000 download hurdle with approximately 512,000 installs. Let’s put this into some perspective, yes? Social to-do app Any.DO saw over 500,000 downloads in its first thirty days of availability on the Android Market. Who knew Apple loyalists needed a way to open .zip files so desperately? New From The Makers Of Nosh: NoshList, A Free Waitlisting App For Restaurants. Firespotter Labs, makers of the food photo-sharing app Nosh (and more recently, the hilarious spoof app Jotly), is launching its latest creation today called NoshList, a new waitlisting application for restaurants.
The app, designed for the iPad, ties into to the company’s consumer-facing Nosh mobile app, which allows users to rate and review restaurants and dishes from their mobile phones. While the integration between the two apps (Nosh & NoshList) is limited – customers just receive text messages about their reservation with links to download Nosh – it would make sense for deeper integrations to arrive in the future. NoshList’s venue analytics are calculated in real-time, for example, and could be integrated into the Nosh consumer app to provide current wait times. Consumers could then see those wait times and add their name to the waitlist within Nosh, which could tie back into the iPad app.
InVision Raises $1.5M For Beautiful, Interactive Prototypes. New York City startup InVision has raised $1.5 million in seed funding to help companies answer an important question: Are we building something that people will actually want to use? The funding comes from FirstMark Capital. Managing director Amish Jani says he was excited to invest because, for one thing, co-founders Clark Valberg and Ben Nadel are addressing a real problem that they faced. InVision came out of the pair’s web design consultancy, where they say they were frustrated by the lack of tools for creating a design prototype that actually provided a reasonable stand-in for the finished product.
BloomReach Crunches Big Data To Deliver The Future Of SEO and SEM. Are you ready for a revolution? Today, after 3 years of machine learning development in stealth, BloomReach reveals its big data solution for website relevance optimization. BloomReach is capable of boosting organic search traffic by a whopping 80%, and will flip the search engine optimization and marketing industries upside down. Strategic Sharing: Zipcar Leads $13.7M Investment In Campus Car-Sharing Startup Wheelz. Well, you have to hand it to the strategy team over at Zipcar.
Arguably the largest on-demand car-sharing network, Zipcar went public last year and not long after saw its market cap cross $1 billion. 140 Proof Introduces Video To Its Social Ad Network. Backed By Lerer And SV Angel, Newsle Launches To Let You Track News About Your Friends. Awesome Inventory Management Startup Stitch Labs Nabs $1M From True Ventures. Small business inventory management startup Stitch Labs is announcing a $1 million seed investment this morning led by True Ventures. YC-Funded ScreenLeap: Because Screen-Sharing Doesn’t Need To Make You Crazy. With stories of Terminator-esque Google glasses making headlines these days, you’d think a basic task like screen sharing would be something that’d be pretty well solved by now. But while there are many different ways to share your desktop (or some portion thereof) with your friends or coworkers, more often than not the process isn’t something you’d call easy.
It’s bad enough that many people (including me) often find themselves steering their peers around computers the old-fashioned way: voice instructions over the phone (“Okay, now look in the Dock, do you see the Settings button? The one with metal gears, right. Click that…”) 6Scan’s Auto-Updating Website Protection Service Is Launching Today, Starting With WordPress. Attachments.me Goes Automatic, Adds Box To Its Cloud Storage Partners. FindTheBest Wants To Personalize Comparison Shopping With AssistMe.
To Lock Down Mobile Apps, Cenzic Launches New App Testing Tools. Ammado raises €7m to solve global giving problem.