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What: Global fan-driven sports media platform Minute Media announced the closing of a US $15 million investment round, bringing its total funding since inception to US $60 million.
Why it matters: These additional US $15 million, led by Qumra Capital, will serve the parent company of sports sites 90min and 12up to expand and bring new sports brands ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Launched in 2011, today Minute Media announced a US $15 million investment led by Israeli late-stage venture fund Qumra Capital. With this amount, the global digital sports media platform brought its total funding up to $60 Million, as an addition to existing investors such as Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital and ProSieben.

Boaz Dinte
Boaz Dinte, managing partner at Qumra Capital.

According to Boaz Dinte, managing partner at Qumra Capital, the way Minute Media is presenting its content, particularly for the millennial generation, will make it grow consistently, to “become the world leader in the digital sports industry.”

Over the last year, Minute Media has shown its potential by going from 30 million monthly users to 70 million. Also, according to ComScore data, the sports-focused media property in the US, UK and 10 other top global media markets.

Less than a year ago, in May of 2016, Minute Media launched its US platform 12up, which has a Spanish-language version,  and opened new offices in Sao Paulo, Singapore and Tokyo. This is why this investment is key to boost its planed growth in current locations, and new markets such as London, New York, Tel Aviv and Manila. Minute Media also owns the soccer site 90min.com which is published in 10 languages including in Spanish for Latin America.

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Asaf Peled
Asaf Peled, founder and CEO of Minute Media.

Upcoming Esports Brand

In addition, the sports-content company is planning to launch an Esports brand in April that will leverage key event and league rights, team relationships, using different video and editorial formats.

“Between the development of key platforms in advance of the 2018 World Cup, our forthcoming Esports brand launch, and our core audience growth objectives, we are very excited about 2017 and what’s to come,” said Asaf Peled, Minute Media founder and CEO through a press release.

What: Snapchat Inc. is seeking a new round of funding that would value the company as high as US $19 billion.
Why it matters: This latest valuation, a huge increase for Snapchat, could make it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world. The high valuation also shows that Social Media platforms like Snapchat that are very popular among Milennials and Teens, are very coveted by investors who expect them to continue to grow at a very high rate.

BoBocYRY_reasonably_smallSnapchat Inc. is in the midst of raising a new round of funding that would value the company between US$16 billion and US$19 billion, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world.

Photo sharing company Snapchat aims to raise as much as US $500 million in this new round. Those numbers would place Snapchat behind only mobile car-booking application Uber Technologies Inc. and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. in the top three startups backed by venture capital firms, according to researcher CB Insights. Xiaomi is valued at US $45 billion, while Uber’s latest round pegged its value at US $40 billion.

A valuation of US$ 19 billion would place Snapchat among the top three startups backed by venture capital firms.

As Julie Diaz-Asper writes in a recent Portada Sounding Off Column, Marketers should keep their eyes on messaging app Snapchat, which is extremely popular with the under 18 crowd, over 100 million monthly users and 71% under 25.” I haven’t seen great numbers on Hispanic users but given the percentage of teens that are Hispanic it’s fair to assume that we’ll begin to see more adoption,” Asper notes.  “Snapchat’s, appeal to teens can be attributed to fast video and image sharing in a mostly a “parent free zone”, with the extra protection that messages disappear after being viewed”, she adds.

Snapchat’s, appeal to teens can be attributed to fast video and image sharing in a mostly a “parent free zone”, with the extra protection that messages disappear after being viewed.

This latest valuation is a huge increase for the company, which Facebook offered to buy for US $3 billion in late 2013. Snapchat’s previous funding round, completed late last year, valued the company at more than US $10 billion. The valuation of Snapchat is also close to the US$22 billion Facebook Inc. paid last year for WhatsApp Inc.

Since it was founded back in 20122, Snapchat’s valuation hasincreased considerablu. That increase goes hand in hand with a surge in venture spending to the highest level in more than a decade.Specially, as Snapchat continues to add to its active user base and extends its service. Last month it added videos (Discover, a kind of short-form television) and articles by mainstream media outlets such as CNN and ESPN, bringing Snapchat into closer competition with Facebook and Twitter.

Snapchat lets people take and draw on photos, then send them to select friends or add them to a public “story.” The photos and videos disappear seconds after the recipient views them. The company says its users — the app is popular among teens — send more than 700 million disappearing “snaps” and view more than 500 million stories daily.

Unlike competitors like Facebook or Twitter, the company does not use any demographic information to target information to individuals.

Snapchat raised US$485.6 million from 23 investors last year, including Yahoo! Inc. and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Previous investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark and Institutional Venture Partners.

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What: Google and other investors are investing a US $500 million dollar round in hardware and software developer Magic Leap Inc. to deliver “cinematic reality.”
Why it matters: Although Google is still betting on its  “Google Glass”,  Magic Leap will probably superimpose high-resolution images with the ability to adjust the depth of field.

magicleap_shareCalif.-based search and advertising giant Google and other investors are investing US $500 million dollar round in hardware and software developer Magic Leap Inc. to deliver “cinematic reality,” according to a report in Re/code. Google is said to be leading the round. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz may be one of the other investors in the consortium.

Florida-based Magic Leap appears to be a realistic form of virtual reality or “Cinematic Reality,”as the company calls it. In February, Magic Leap raised more than US $50 million in a Series A round in February, 2014 to develop its proprietary technology platform.

Although Google is still betting on its virtual reality device “Google Glass”, which superimposes information on the periphery of your vision,  Magic Leap will probably superimpose high-resolution images — perhaps via special glasses of its own —with the ability to adjust the depth of field.

Oculus is another virtually reality maker, which was acquired for US $2 billion by Facebook earlier this year. Oculus makes a virtual reality headset that is aimed primarily at gamers, but might have relevance to future computer and mobile interfaces.