Leads360 receives $3.25 million

Head Logo2ASanta Monica-based Leads360 just raised $3.25 million in a Series A round led by Rustic Canyon Partners.

Leads360 provides on-demand lead acquisition as well as lead management services with its “Lead Manager” platform. Currently the company only focuses on mortgage leads, but this round of funding may change that: John Babcock, Partner at Rustic Canyon, says that the influx of capital “will allow them to expand quickly into new markets and leverage a network of partnerships for growth,” fueling speculation that the company may expand into lead management for other verticals such as autos, debt and education.

The leads management landscape is a crowded one. The company faces a number of competitors such as AIMpromote, SalesForce, icoSales, etc., the list goes on. It appears Leads360 differentiates itself by offering deep customization options for lead management workflow, allowing clients to tailor their platform in what ever way they’ve found to be successful.

The company’s CEO is Jeff Solomon, a serial entrepreneur who graduated from ASU only 11 years ago and has been starting businesses ever since. He has a blog, www.thecomplexsystem.com, where he chronicles his path as an entrepreneur. Here’s an excerpt from his latest post:

For me, the idea of learning just a bit more today than I knew yesterday keeps me going. I’ve mentioned before how my dad taught me early on that I should hire people smarter than me. I think I do that not only because it makes me successful, but because it makes me smarter. I learn from watching others. I’ve learned just about everything I know in business from watching other people. After all, I didn’t really learn much in school; well about business anyway.

We love seeing CEO’s up the transparency factor with a company blog, but personal anecdotes like this really add a unique, inspirational touch. Great reading.

Look for Leads360 to expand soon.

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Assay Depot speeds new drug discovery

A startup has emerged that has designed a new way to connect scientists with pharmaceutical research service providers, helping to streamline the drug discovery process. San Diego-based Assay Depot, an Internet marketplace for the pharmaceutical services industry, announced yesterday they have raised $1.8 million in series A financing from private investors.

Industry and academic scientists that are researching new drugs require samples of their work to be analyzed by third party labs, or service providers. Assay Depot makes this process more efficient by providing a marketplace that brings many service providers together in one place. A researcher (customer) will go on the site and select an option from a research services menu, then mail their sample in a pre-paid overnight express envelope to Assay. That order is then distributed to one of many service providers in Assay’s network, at which point the sample is forwarded by Assay to the corresponding provider. Once they complete the research service, the results are uploaded to Assay who then provides the customer with a full data report. Assay provides a variety of additional services to research providers as well: marketing, legal agreements and billing are all able to be handled on Assay Depot’s side.

The company plans to launch its service in early 2008.

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MyBuys helps tell you what you want to buy

1191892062651MyBuys, a behavioral one-to-one recommendation service for online merchants, recently raised $10 million in a series B round led by Palomar Ventures with help from previous investor Lightspeed Venture Partners.

MyBuys helps people find what they want on web merchant stores. Based on data gathered by the retailer in addition to personal info offered by the consumer, MyBuys suggests products on a one-to-one customized basis to shoppers. In addition, the service will alert you when a product that you want becomes available. Found a great pair of shoes but only want them if they have a pair that’s pink size 12? MyBuys will alert you when it comes in stock.

The service, which has no upfront costs for the client and is ran on a pay for performance model, is already in place on Ritz Interactive in addition to smaller sites Lancome Cosmetics and Hancock Fabrics. In June of this year MyBuys released version 3.0 of the service, expanding the modes of delivery for their recommendations from email and RSS to include real-time recs right on the merchant’s website.

Check out a podcast interview with Paul Rosenblum, VP of Marketing for MyBuys (hosted by Get Elastic). Rosenblum says that when recommendations to consumers are accurate and useful, “it’s really not advertising anymore. It’s about service.


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MSNBC acquires Newsvine

NewsvNewsvine was just acquired by MSNBC for an undisclosed amount. For now, the seven-employee startup will remain operating as an independent company. For those unfamiliar with the company, Newsvine is a community-driven social news site that aims to provide a clear sense of what people ‘are really talking about.’ Members of the site select articles from outside sources to be presented and then vote on them for relevance and display priority (individual comments in response to articles are also voted on). Newsvine also encourages members to write and publish their own articles, creating a portion of original content for the site. This unique content along with the site’s professional newspaper-like layout are what separate Newsvine from Digg, the most popular crowd-sourcing news page. Recently, Newsvine’s CEO and founder Mike Davidson was in the news for altering an image on his servers that was being unfairly used on John McCain’s MySpace profile, resulting in a fake message from the Arizona senator being displayed on his MySpace announcing his support of gay marriage (discussion over on TechCrunch). While one could say this was an unprofessional action by Davidson, the flip-side is that it revealed that he doesn’t always play by the rules — a trait that is generally found in true entrepreneurs. This acquisition is another example of big media trying to realign themselves to survive in a Web 2.0 media landscape that seems to be slowly but steadily outpacing them. Om Malik notes that the first media giant to purchase a social news startup was News Corp. when they acquired Newroo in April 2006. view - site

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