Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bay Area Tech Wire - Dec. 8

BAY AREA TECH WIRE -- Dec. 8, 2016
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o San Francisco-Based Thanx Raises $17.1 Million in Second Round
o S.F.-Based NFLabs Changes Name to ZEPL, Raises $4.1 Million
LexisNexis Launches Legal Tech Accelerator in Menlo Park
San Francisco-Based W2O Group Acquires Sentient Interactive
Menlo Park-Based Quicken Names Tim Villanueva as CTO
o Briefly Noted: Shutterfly, Tessera Holding, Hornet

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o San Francisco-Based Thanx Raises $17.1 Million in Second Round

San Francisco -- Thanx, a San Francisco-based developer of automated loyalty, feedback and marketing tools for merchants, said on Thursday it has raised $17.1 million in its second round of funding, co-led by Icon Ventures and previous backer Sequoia Capital. Javelin Venture Partners also took part in the round, which the company will use to grow its sales and engineering teams and deliver its personalization and retention tools to national retailers. Joe Horowitz, managing general partner at Icon Ventures, has joined the company's board of directors. Thanx's platform is designed to make it easier for brick-and-mortar merchants to access and act on customer purchase data. "The top quartile of customers often drive as much as 70% of a merchant's revenue," said founder and CEO Zach Goldstein. "Identifying, engaging and retaining these loyalists is fundamental to growth."  

o S.F.-Based NFLabs Changes Name to ZEPL, Raises $4.1 Million

San Francisco -- NFLabs, the San Francisco-based developer of a data analytics platform for all data types, said on Thursday it had raised $4.1 million in its first round of funding and changed its name to ZEPL. Vertex Ventures led the round, which also included participation from Translink Capital, Specialized Types and Big Basin Capital. Sik Rhee, a general partner at Vertex Ventures, has joined the company's board of directors. The company's new name, ZEPL, pays homage to big data visualization interface Apache Zeppelin, a technology created by company co-founder and CTO Moon Soo Lee. The technology is designed to let data engineers, data scientists and business analysts use the same interface to source, process and analyze all data types. "By building on top of Apache Zeppelin's extensible, pluggable, open interface, we believe we can tear down the walls that currently limit how organizations leverage and communicate analytics," said Lee.

o LexisNexis Launches Legal Tech Accelerator in Menlo Park

Menlo Park, Calif. -- LexisNexis, the New York-based provider of legal, government, business and high-tech information sources, said on Thursday it has launched a new legal tech accelerator in Menlo Park. As part of the program, accelerator participants will have access to legal data and tools from LexisNexis, as well as hands-on mentorship; education; connections to a range of Bay Area schools, businesses and VCs and workspace for up to three people for three months. The program is located at the offices of LexisNexis business Lex Machina, developer of a legal analytics platform, and led by its CEO, Josh Becker. "Lex Machina has deep roots in Silicon Valley," said Becker. "Being actively involved in Stanford University's CODEX program, and having begun as a Stanford project before spinning off as a startup, we know first-hand the struggles that legal tech and other Silicon Valley startups go through. That's why we're proud to be spearheading this incredible opportunity and bringing this much-needed resource to the startup community."

o San Francisco-Based W2O Group Acquires Sentient Interactive

San Francisco -- W2O Group, a San Francisco-based network of analytics and digitally oriented marketing and communications firms, said on Thursday it has acquired New Jersey-based Sentient Interactive, a provider of digital marketing services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. W2O said the acquisition will allow it to develop more fully integrated marketing, communications and digital programs, while also bolstering its physical presence along the East Coast biopharma/life sciences corridor on the. The firm now has offices in New York; Boston; Morristown, N.J.; Philadelphia; Wilmington, N.C.; and New Hope, Pa. "[The acquisition] will strengthen our ability to capture audience insights, complement our diverse analytics offering, and bolster our creative talent across PESO media," said Jim Weiss, W2O's founder and CEO. Sentient's co-founder and president, Adam Cossman, will serve as W2O's chief digital officer. Cossman founded Sentient with Jeff Rohwer and Walter Stevenson in 2008, and has since grown the firm to more than 50 employees.. 

o Menlo Park-Based Quicken Names Tim Villanueva as CTO

Menlo Park, Calif. -- Quicken, the Menlo Park-based developer of personal finance software, on Thursday named Tim Villanueva as its chief technology officer (CTO). Villanueva, most recently the CTO of IAC's business and a technical advisor on Quicken's board, now will head the company's product development organization and lead a significant ramp up in the hiring of engineers. "We were looking for a leader to take Quicken's products to the next level," said CEO Eric Dunn. "Tim's level of expertise in scaling global engineering organizations and in delivering state-of-the-art cloud-based offerings was impressive and made him the ideal leader for us to add to our team." Villanueva earlier also served as the CTO of Fundly and Kabam. 

o Briefly Noted:

(Redwood City, Calif.) Redwood City-based Shutterfly, the provider of personalized photo products and services, said it has named two new independent directors, Elizabeth Sartain and Tayloe Stansbury, to its board of directors. Sartain is currently the vice chairman of AARP, and Stansbury is the executive vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) at Intuit. 

(San Jose, Calif.) San Jose-based product and technology licensing firm Tessera Holding has named David Habiger to its board of directors. Habiger had previously served as a board member at DTS until its acquisition by Tessera on Dec. 1, and was most recently chair of the compensation committee. He also serves as a senior advisor at Silver Lake Partners and a venture partner with the Pritzker Group. 

(San Francisco) San Francisco-based gay social network Hornet on Thursday named Stephan Horbelt as its executive editor. Horbelt, who will be based in Los
Angeles, spent the past four years as the editor in chief of Frontiers at Frontiers Media. 

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> California-based Marketing Representative - Fairfax County EDA

The Fairfax County (Virginia) Economic Development Authority seeks a Los Angeles/Orange County-based marketing and business development representative. Responsibilities include promoting Fairfax County as a technology center to California companies considering expansion to the east coast. Fairfax County, home to approximately 9,000 technology companies is located just outside of Washington DC. For further details, visit the FCEDA web site at or contact Flor Morrobel at Responses are due on December 30, 2016 by 2:00 p.m. ET. Proposals submitted via email and/or fax will not be considered. Qualified applicants will be interviewed in California the week of February 6, 2017.


> Vice President Product Management

We are looking for a strong Vice President of Product Management who will play a major growth role for a nearly 1 BN dollar, high growth, publicly traded, online marketplace and information services company, one of the leading technology companies in the United States. This is our oldest commercial client, 11+ years, and we can provide exceptional insights into the company's culture, its people, and the opportunity. In addition to the tactical Product skill sets and experiences required below, this executive must offer significant experiences interacting with C-level leaders. He or she will play an instrumental role in defining and shaping the Product function across the company, working closely with both the Division President and the Corporate CEO, and interacting daily with multiple peers in different functional areas. The company continues to grow rapidly, both organically and through acquisition. This leader will have a history of scaling a world-class product capability and team. The role is headquartered in our client's beautiful Los Angeles office. Full relocation is offered. Benefits are comprehensive. Compensation ranges from 280k - 375k, plus upfront equity and annual equity grants. Candidates must have a history of job stability, have a strong educational background, and be a pleasure to work with. The pace is fast, the opportunity to make an impact is significant, the people are bright and motivated, politics are kept to a minimum; it's very much a meritocracy. For more information or to apply, contact


> Proven, Cost-effective IN-MARKET Support for Federal Contractors of all Sizes and Disciplines

KPYoung & Associates, Inc. provides proven, cost-effective support for Federal Contractors of all sizes and disciplines. Services include Growth Strategy; Marketing and Communications; Business Development; Capture Strategy / Proposal Response; and Business Management. Kevin Young is a long-time, Washington, DC-based resource as a Professional (IBM Federal, Unisys, SAIC); Management Consultant (Capgemini, CSC, Deloitte, Deltek, ITT, Leidos); Adjunct Professor (George Mason University's School of Business); and Thought Leader (Government Market Master™ Executive Education Program). Honors over 30-plus years include IBM Outstanding Achievement in Marketing Award, IBM Award of Excellence, and (as IBM site team) the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Federal clients and Contractor clients are available upon request; full credentials and references may be found via For an introductory call, please contact Kevin at 703-794-1100 or

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