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OD Kobo’s High-Profile @ShellanooGroup Incubator Abruptly Cancels Tel Aviv IPO

OD Kobo’s High-Profile @ShellanooGroup Incubator Abruptly Cancels Tel Aviv IPO

Shellanoo disclosed amid great mystery and fanfare, that it was planning to raise 100 million shekels ($26.5 million) or more, in an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by October, as previously reported by ExitHub.

In a twist of fate. now the group’s investors, including billionaire Roman Abramovich, music luminaries including Tiesto, Avicii, will.i.am, David Guetta, Sebastian Ingrosso (of Swedish House Mafia), Nicki Minaj, Benny Andersson (of music group ABBA), plus super agents Ash Pournouri and Gee Roberson (previously chairman of Geffen Records and now part of Maverick Management), and other celebrities and friends such as supermodel Bar Refaeli and her brother Dor, who co-founded Blindspot, can tell O.D. Kobo –anonymously– what they really think, using Shellanoo’s Blindspot app.
Shellanoo said it currently manages “over $200 million in assets.” The IPO was supposed to be managed by Poalim IBI-Management & Underwriting Ltd (TASE: PIU), Israel’s leading local investment bank. “In a one-line statement to the bourse, Shellanoo – which last month said it would raise at least 100 million shekels ($27 million) in a share offering – did not give a reason for the cancellation and did not provide further details,” Reuters reported. “The main criticism Israeli financial journalists raised is that the (pre-revenue) company’s leading app – the messaging app Blindspot – has only 1.4M active users who are mainly teenagers in Brazil and dozens of potential apps that will be released later on,” wrote SeekingAlpha contributor, Lior Ronen, a financial analyst and CEO of Finro. “These dozens of new apps bring more of the same to already saturated markets like online dating, job hunting, used goods sales, social media and much more. The potential of these apps to gain substantial market share in the markets they target is tiny, while using a freemium model and in-app purchase revenue streams, make the potential revenues growth highly unlikely,” he added. Relying on Blindspot, “which tried penetrating a boiling market of messaging, the company is light years away” from even relatively small players like Telegram, with 100M monthly active users (MAU), and Kakaotalk, with 48M MAU (not to mention big players such as WhatsApp, Facebook, QQ Mobile, WeChat, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Skype, Viber, Line, or Blackberry) noted Ronen, as illustrated in his chart below. messaging_apps_mau_stats Shellanoo said it had closed a $35 million round of funding in April 2015, in conjunction with the launch of its music sharing app Music Messenger. Last year Shellanoo’s backer Abramovich was said to have acquired for 100 million shekels The Varsano luxury boutique hotel property, nestled within the trendy historical neighborhood of Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv, which he is expected to turn into his Israeli hôtel particulier. The hotel business has already been permanently closed. He’s also said to be periodically scouting for new high-tech investment opportunities in Israel. [caption id="attachment_6155" align="aligncenter" width="748"]The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier in Neve Tzedek,Tel Aviv. The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier (formerly Varsano) in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.[/caption] Shellanoo is the brainchild of Oded “O.D.” Kobo, a serial Israeli Internet entrepreneur born in Hong Kong. He started his IT career at the age of 20 by developing patented technology for the lottery industry. He later moved back to Asia to establish IT outsourcing facilities. He is a co-founder of Chinese Internet companies KGIM, SinoSheen and Koolanoo Group. KGIM, a holding group of multiple Internet companies, and a seed investment group once partnered with the Prime Minister of Qatar HH Al Thani, was later sold to East River Capital for $80 million. In 2012 he founded social media app Pheed, which was sold for $40 million in 2014 to Mobli Media, a company controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Kobo is a former board member of Camden Market Holdings (LSE: MKT), a real estate conglomerate based in London, controlled Israeli property tycoon and technology entrepreneur Teddy Sagi. In December 2015, Shellanoo launched Blindspot, a new anonymous messaging app that gives people the opportunity to express their true feelings, without revealing their identity – unless they choose to. “Blindspot is definitely one of our portfolio’s liveliest projects,” said O.D. Kobo, chairman of Shellanoo Group. The idea for Blindspot emerged from a 12-hour hackathon at Shellanoo’s headquarters in Israel. “When you remove the barrier of identity between people things start to get interesting,” says Kobo. Blindspot is perfect for flirting or chatting. Users can message anyone in their contact list for one-to-one communication, sending text, images, voice-notes and video. Perhaps it’s the loud, cartoon-style design, the game-like interface, or simply the ability to message people anonymously. Whatever it is, Blindspot opens up a whole new world of communications. Message recipients can easily block other users and can ask senders to reveal their identity at any time. Any user that is blocked by three people is removed from the app. Any misuse can be raised directly with Blindspot. “What would you say to people you know if you were anonymous?” ask Dor Refaeli and Lee Greenberg, co-founders of Blindspot. “Most users want to flirt, play jokes on friends or share secretive information they would otherwise be scared to reveal. There’s so much fake comment on social media – it can be like an airbrushed version of life. We want people to have fun, and most of all we want people to be real with one another.” blindspot-refaeli Dor Refaeli (above, L) is the younger brother of Israel’s international supermodel Bar Refaeli (above, R). Funding terms and the equity share split between Shellanoo and Blindspot’s founders Refaeli and Greenberg were not disclosed. (Upper) Photo: O.D. Kobo and his wife Etty (Instagram/Walla).]]>

ProSiebenSat.1 $PSM Buying @Parship_de Dating Site from Oakley $OCL for €200M

ProSiebenSat.1 $PSM Buying @Parship_de Dating Site from Oakley $OCL for €200M

ProSiebenSat.1 bought out Munich-based digital fashion marketplace Stylight by increasing its previous equity stake from 22% to 100%, at a valuation of €80 million. 7Commerce, the strategic investment arm of ProSiebenSat.1, focuses mainly on the segments of Beauty & Accessories (Amorelie, Flaconi, Valmano, Stylight) and Online Comparison (Verivox, moebel.de, preis24, 12Auto). The strategy of 7Commerce is based on the premise that the TV-to-online lever works best in the segments of fashion and lifestyle. As such, the synergies between online dating and TV are expected to be particularly conducive to promoting the growth of Parship Elite in the German market. To enhance synergies and promote interchanges among all strategic ventures of ProSiebenSat.1, long-term partnerships are organized into special verticals or clusters. SevenVentures pools all venture investments (minority investments and media cooperations) under one roof. Through media-for-revenue and media-for-equity investment models, the portfolio companies receive advertising time in exchange for a revenue or equity share.]]>

OD Kobo’s High-Profile @ShellanooGroup Incubator Abruptly Cancels Tel Aviv IPO

Abramovich, OD Kobo's Shellanoo Incubator Set for $26.5M Oct Tel Aviv IPO

Music Messenger. The group’s investors include billionaire Roman Abramovich, and attracted investments from music luminaries including Tiesto, Avicii, will.i.am, David Guetta, Sebastian Ingrosso (of Swedish House Mafia), Nicki Minaj, Benny Andersson (of music group ABBA), plus super agents Ash Pournouri and Gee Roberson (previously chairman of Geffen Records and now part of Maverick Management), and several others. Last year, Abramovich was said to have acquired for 100 million shekels The Varsano luxury boutique hotel property, nestled within the trendy historical neighborhood of Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv, which he is expected to turn into his Israeli hôtel particulier. The hotel business has already been permanently closed. He’s also said to be periodically scouting for new high-tech investment opportunities in Israel. [caption id="attachment_6155" align="aligncenter" width="748"]The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier in Neve Tzedek,Tel Aviv. The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier (formerly Varsano) in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.[/caption] Shellanoo is the brainchild of Oded “O.D.” Kobo, a serial Israeli Internet entrepreneur born in Hong Kong. He started his IT career at the age of 20 by developing patented technology for the lottery industry. He later moved back to Asia to establish IT outsourcing facilities. He is a co-founder of Chinese Internet companies KGIM, SinoSheen and Koolanoo Group. KGIM, a holding group of multiple Internet companies, and a seed investment group once partnered with the Prime Minister of Qatar HH Al Thani, was later sold to East River Capital for $80 million. In 2012 he founded social media app Pheed, which was sold for $40 million in 2014 to Mobli Media, a company controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Kobo is a former board member of Camden Market Holdings (LSE: MKT), a real estate conglomerate based in London, controlled Israeli property tycoon and technology entrepreneur Teddy Sagi. In December 2015, Shellanoo launched Blindspot, a new anonymous messaging app that gives people the opportunity to express their true feelings, without revealing their identity – unless they choose to. “Blindspot is definitely one of our portfolio’s liveliest projects,” said O.D. Kobo, chairman of Shellanoo Group. The idea for Blindspot emerged from a 12-hour hackathon at Shellanoo’s headquarters in Israel. “When you remove the barrier of identity between people things start to get interesting,” says Kobo. Blindspot is perfect for flirting or chatting. Users can message anyone in their contact list for one-to-one communication, sending text, images, voice-notes and video. Perhaps it’s the loud, cartoon-style design, the game-like interface, or simply the ability to message people anonymously. Whatever it is, Blindspot opens up a whole new world of communications. Message recipients can easily block other users and can ask senders to reveal their identity at any time. Any user that is blocked by three people is removed from the app. Any misuse can be raised directly with Blindspot. “What would you say to people you know if you were anonymous?” ask Dor Refaeli and Lee Greenberg, co-founders of Blindspot. “Most users want to flirt, play jokes on friends or share secretive information they would otherwise be scared to reveal. There’s so much fake comment on social media – it can be like an airbrushed version of life. We want people to have fun, and most of all we want people to be real with one another.” blindspot-refaeli Dor Refaeli (above, L) is the younger brother of Israel’s international supermodel Bar Refaeli (above, R). Funding terms and the equity share split between Shellanoo and Blindspot’s founders Refaeli and Greenberg were not disclosed. (Upper) Photo: O.D. Kobo and his wife Etty (Instagram/Walla).]]>

Pop Culture Digital Media Company @SpinMedia Hires Banker to Explore Exit

Pop Culture Digital Media Company @SpinMedia Hires Banker to Explore Exit

Spin, Vibe, Death and Taxes, Stereogum, Idolator, PureVolume, and Buzznet, is said to be exploring a sale of the company. Investment banking boutique Petsky Prunier, has been hired to explore the company’s sale, the New York Post reported. The firm is one of the leading investment banks in the technology, media, marketing, eCommerce, and healthcare industries. It is headquartered in New York, and has additional offices in Palo Alto, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, and Tampa. Formerly known as Buzz Media, the company was founded in 2004 by Anthony Batt (CEO), Marc Brown, Kevin Woolery, and Steve Haldane under the name Buzznet. In 2012 it acquired Spin Media, publisher of Spin magazine. After shutting down the print version of the magazine, reducing its staff to about 200, and focusing on advertising, it rebranded itself as SpinMedia in March 2013, and acquired Vibe magazine the following month. In 2014, after experiencing mounting losses and defaulting on over $12 million in debt owed to Silicon Valley Bank, the company went into liquidation under California law to avoid bankruptcy, and re-emerged as Spin Media Group Inc. through a corporate reorganization led by private equity firm M/C Partners, with the participation of Anthem Venture Partners, Focus Ventures, Intel Capital and Interscope Records. Over $125 million in previously raised equity from various venture capital firms, were reportedly wiped out in the process. SpinMedia creates “more than 1,000 mouth-watering stories and videos per day, fueling 45 trusted editorial brands,” the company says, and connects “30 million obsessed fans” around the topics they love. They come because SpinMedia understands the complex relationship between brands, content and millennial consumers. The company provides a platform that feeds their obsession with music and pop culture – and incentivizes them to share stories, join communities, and explore. SpinMedia says it reaches “socially connected millennial influencers, who indulge their passion for pop culture through the brands they buy.” According to comScore, the company had 30 million unique visitors in July 2016. The SpinMedia network of 20 influential music sites “holds the dominant position in online music content creation,” the company says.]]>

NYC's @Sprinklr Raises $105M at $1.8B Value Led by @Temasek

NYC's @Sprinklr Raises $105M at $1.8B Value Led by @Temasek

Temasek announced it acquired the remaining 46 percent stake in Singapore’s leading multi-modal mass transit public transportation operator SMRT Corp Ltd (SGX: S53) which it does not already own, for S$1.18 billion (US$869 million), valuing the company at S$2.56 billion (US$1.89 billion). “We started Sprinklr in 2009 because we saw something most didn’t. We believed social was destined to become a disruptive force that would forever change business. Even when others counted us out, we continued to chase that rainbow. Stubbornly and unapologetically. I’m glad we did,” says Sprinklr’s founder and CEO Ragy Thomas. In an age where customer experience is the new battleground and word-of-mouth is everything, global brands need a way to tap into unstructured customer interactions. They need a new approach to building real customer relationships at scale – one that goes beyond traditional notions of “relationship management,” he added They need a foundation that models not just structured customer attributes like age and address, but one that also makes sense of and allows them to act on unstructured data, like a recent Instagram post or review on Yelp. This is what the Sprinklr platform was designed to do. Purpose-built for an unstructured world, Sprinklr’s technology is helping 1,200+ global brands unearth and extract new value from their legacy systems. It’s uniting their marketing, customer care, and other customer-facing functions. Called “the most powerful technology in the market” by Forrester, Sprinklr’s fully integrated social experience management software powers more than four billion social connections across 77 countries. Headquartered in New York City with almost 700 employees globally, Sprinklr is revolutionizing customer engagement for almost 800 of Fortune’s top enterprise brands, including IHG, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, and Virgin America, and partners like Accenture, Havas, and Razorfish.]]>