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2014 - A Year of Growth and Change


 

With $60M in capital deployed globally, a new $100M Connected Car fund and a landmark exit in Alibaba’s acquisition of UCWeb – it’s safe to say that this has been an active and eventful year. Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s phone business and NGP continued expanding in China, a market we have been actively investing in for years. Our early investments in UCWeb and GanJi are now bearing fruit as both reach unicorn valuations.

Next year marks our 10-year anniversary. Two decades of muscle memory from running venture investments for Nokia still resides at NGP, but 2005 was the year NGP was founded as an independent fund manager with one sole corporate sponsor. Running a global team and balancing the act of being a financial and strategic investor simultaneously for the last 10 years has been very rewarding and at times also challenging.

We hope you enjoy the read below summarizing the portfolio highlights, exits and investments done in 2014.

A very merry X-mas and and best wishes for 2015!

Warm regards from the global NGP team

2014 SUMMARY

New $100M Connected Car fund
In May 2014, NGP announced raising a new $100M Connected Car fund from Nokia to invest in promising auto tech and local services companies in collaboration with HERE, a Nokia company, to grow the ecosystem around HERE’s mapping and location products and services. In 2013, NGP also raised Fund III of $250M from Nokia and expanded its presence in China.

read more

Exits
We embarked on a kingmaker journey with UCWeb, Fyber and Network18 already in 2010 and 2011 and this year, they have all successfully left the nest.

  • UCweb – Acquired by Alibaba for a multi-billion dollar sum, the exit has been referred to as the largest internet merger ever in China.
  • Fyber – acquired by RNTS Media in Germany for $190M.
  • Network18 acquired by Reliance Technologies in India for $680M.

 
Portfolio highlights of the year
 
Hipmunk partners with Yahoo and Yelp in the US
This year Hipmunk announced a deal with Yelp, the crowdsourced review site, to allow people to book hotels through Hipmunk without ever leaving the Yelp site. A week later it partnered with Yahoo, to allow travel bookings through Hipmunk on Yahoo’s website.
 
MAG interactive launches Ruzzle Adventures, gets chosen as app of the year by Apple and wins TNW Europe’s Startup Competition
It’s been a great year for Swedish game developer MAG interactive, not only being chosen by Apple as best game app in 2012, they did it again 2014. Of hundreds of companies, The Next Web chose MAG interactive as the winner of the prestigious TNW Europe’s Tech5 Startup Competition 2014. Read more here.
 
Zubie partners with O2 in Germany
Telefonica’s Teutonic arm, O2 Germany, has partnered up with Zubie to provide an O2-branded version of the quantified driving key device and service. Read more here.

Ganji raises 200M
Chinese unicorn company GanJi, an online classifieds service, recently announced a new US$200 million financing round from U.S.-based Tiger Fund and The Carlyle Group. The company has already raised nearly US$200 million of financing in previous five rounds since its establishment in 2005. Read more here.
 
QuikR reaches #1 in India
Quikr, India’s largest-scale cross-category online classifieds business with more than 30 million monthly consumer and small businesses users in over 1000 cities raised 60M in 2014 to further accelerate growth, officially becoming the largest online classifieds platform in India. Read more here.
 
Verve & RetailNext partnered in the US to combine the power of mobile location targeting and in-store technology.  As leading experts in location-based targeting and in-store analytics, RetailNext and Verve now provide retailers using the technologies a full range of tools that enhance their ability to see how location-targeted mobile advertising is correlated to driving foot traffic and sales. Read more here.
 
There has been many more fantastic initiatives by our companies this year and we are working hard on a few news ones. Above are only the largest highlights from our portfolio. For more information about our companies, do not hesitate to contact us.

New deals 2014
20 investments have been completed in total this year although a few still remain unannounced. Here are our investment highlights 2014 in chronological order from Jan-Dec.

  • PubMatic $13M (US). PubMatic is a global technology platform that powers programmatic advertising for leading publishers and premium brands. Their technology is changing the advertising landscape and setting new standards for media buying.
  • Kaltura $47M (US) – An open source video technology revolutionizing the industry by providing organizations flexible and future-proof video solutions to fit their needs. Works with over 300,000 publishers worldwide.
  • Omnidrone (Spain) – Omnidrone is a game studio based in Barcelona developing mobile social games and tablet-first gaming experiences.
  • Meican $10M (China). An online food delivery platform serving enterprise customers. The service is available at more than 30,000 restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, serving tens of thousands of users daily.
  • Gigwalk $10M (US). A local visibility software platform that facilitates brand and retailer collaboration to drive in-store sales. Gigwalk activates the world’s largest network of mobile-enabled independent contractors.
  • Zubie $8M (US). Zubie is a mobile services company focused on maximizing connected car capabilities for consumers and businesses.
  • Wei Chai Shi (China) – China’s leading mobile marketplace connecting businesses to an on-demand mobile workforce who are incentivized to collect, capture, and report real-time data for brand clients.
  • Netpulse $18.6M (US) – The fitness industry’s first and only enterprise-level big data platform for engaging consumers across multiple touch points, in and out of the gym club.
  • Hipmunk $20M (US) – Meta-search travel site offering the most comprehensive travel search options in the US, from commercial flights, trains, and charter flights to hotels and vacation rentals.
  • Digital Lumens $23M (US) – A global supplier of enterprise-scale intelligent LED lighting to commercial and industrial customers, delivering 90% energy savings and granular building intelligence.
  • Yplan $24M (UK) – A mobile-first event planning app with curated content and shortlists of the best events and happenings.

Follow-on financing 2014

  • RetailNext $30M (US) – Leader in real-time analytics that enable retailers and manufacturers to monitor, collect, analyze, and visualize in-store data offline, offering the same data capabilities that online retailers have.
  • QuikR $60M (India) – India’s largest horizontal classifieds company offering a web and mobile based classifieds platform that addresses a wide variety of local consumer needs.
  • InVisage $30M (US) – Silicon Valley-based company revolutionizing imaging though quantum film nano-technology.
  • Vizury $16M (India) – AdTech platform bringing brands closer to online markets capturing not just internet user eyeballs, but also their attention and imagination.

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