WPP, the London-based multinational advertising and PR agency, has upped its equity stake in New York’s real-time online ad bidding platform AppNexus from 1% to 15% through a $25 million investment. The deal comes as a part of AppNexus’ decision to buy Xaxis for Publishers, another ad-serving technology, from WPP. “We can’t build everything,” said WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, speaking to The Wall Street Journal, “We know data and relationships and how to reach our audiences in innovative ways. That’s what’s important to our clients.” AppNexus, which received a $1.2 billion valuation based on its latest round of funding, is considered one of the leading alternatives to Google when it comes to ad serving. It is backed by Venrock, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who invested as angels, among others.
A San Francisco-based event planning platform, HoneyBook, has raised a $10 million Series A from Aleph VC, Hillsven Calital, Ooga Labs, and Ev Williams, among others. Honeybooks aims to streamline users ability to transact payments, make logistical decisions and communicate with clients, according to a company release. “HoneyBook is modernizing the planning experience by giving creative businesses and their clients the ability to easily collaborate on producing and sharing memorable, flawless experiences. The most modern planning experience has arrived and it’s here to stay,” said Oz Alon, HoneyBook cofounder and CEO.
EdCast, a cloud-based educational platform built to facilitate collaboration among learners, schools, and employers, has raised a $6 million Series A. Investors include Menlo Ventures, SoftBank Capital, and the NewSchools Ventures Fund, among others. EdCast was incubated through Stanford’s StartX program.
DuoSecurity, a two-factor authentication security company based out of Ann Arbor, MI, has secured a $12 million Series B from Benchmark and returning backers Google Ventures, True Ventures, and Radar Partners. The company serves over 5,000 customers, and will use the new funding to grow its sales and engineering teams. It was founded in 2010, and has now raised $20 million.