November 2, 2011
Another local DC-area company has successfully raised capital from venture capital and angel investors. Only this time, despite the efforts of out-of-region investors in New England and the Research Triangle to lure Seva Search away, the founders have planted their flag in Potomac, Maryland, bucking the trend to pack up and say goodbye to our little government town.
What’s significant about this deal is that unlike YouEye and AppMakr, 2 companies that had difficulty raising money in DC, Seva closed an oversubscribed round of $1.3M from primarily local investors. In addition, Seva didn’t sacrifice valuation or influence – they raised money from Fortify.vc and an influential list of angel investors including Ed Mathias, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group; Tim Sykes, a noted hedge fund manager; Jay Virdy, a serial entrepreneur with lucrative exit sales to Twitter and AOL; Paul Silber and David Krauskopf, founding members of Blu Ventures; and several members from the University of Maryland’s Dingman Angels Network.
Seva Call matches consumers and local businesses based on online ratings and reviews, social reputation and interaction, call analytics, and other forms of consumer and business feedback. Furthermore, consumers using Seva Call get calls back from qualified businesses in a matter of minutes.
When asked about the funding process, Seva CEO and cofounder Manpreet Singh said,
We went out to the Valley and talked to many folks. We were told that there was interest in funding us as long as we were willing to move out west. We had decided that we weren’t going to move just for funding so we went back home and kept pitching through a lot of nos until we succeeded in closing this round.
So despite my constant projections of gloom and doom, startups and startup funding in the DC area are showing life and vitality. The Seva Call funding is the kind of super angel deal that typically happens in Silicon Valley, not here. This news, coupled with the projected success of upcoming Digital Capital Week, the emergence of new shared works spaces like GeekEasy, and the traction behind the DCTech Meetups and Proudly Made in DC are paving the way for a more healthy tech startup environment for our nation’s capitol.
Let’s hope we can continue the momentum!
(Authors Note: So I probably have to start with a little housekeeping here. As an Angel Investor I am compelled to reveal that I am an investor in Seva Search and YouEye. Secondly this is my 4th article on the subject of West Coast Deals, the others are: The West Coast Deal, Another One Bites the Dust – West Coast Deal II, and Mr. Cranky Thinks You Have an Ugly Baby. Finally I have to admit that I take pleasure in quoting the Mr. Cranky article as my editors detest and have curtailed my use of that moniker.)
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