Steve Case’s Revolution Growth Leads Series B Round in Optoro

July 16, 2013

1:00 pm

Today, Revolution Growth led a Series B round of around $25 million in local startup Optoro, with participation from existing investor Grotech Ventures.

Optoro targets the retail industry – specifically, what to do with returned or excess inventory, called “reverse logistics.” Thanks to flexible return policies, everyone from shoe brands to electronics sellers has to deal with returned products. Optoro software automatically lists items on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and their own Blinq.com, using algorithms to choose the ideal website, price, and timing.

Revolution Growth is the hands-on venture capital firm led by Steve Case, Ted Leonsis, and Donn Davis. Only making around three investments per year, they focus on non-Silicon Valley startups that can “change the world” by empowering consumers and disrupting old industries. According to Leonsis, too many venture capital firms engage in “groupthink”; they choose their deals based on what other firms are investing in.

“A company will get financed, and then there are half a dozen like-minded companies going after the same opportunity, and the next top six venture capital companies will put money into there. It’s almost like someone else has done the due diligence,” says Leonsis, who is a board member of American Express and Groupon and a former AOL executive.

Instead, Revolution Growth is looking for new and untested – but high-potential – opportunities.

“Finding those kinds of deals and opportunities is difficult,” Leonsis says. “As it should be – there’s not that many great companies out there that are poised for great growth and great markets with great entrepreneurs.”

Optoro will use the funding to scale Blinq.com, as well as hire marketers and engineers. They represent the fifth investment for Revolution Growth, following FedBid, Resonate Networks, Lolly Wolly Doodle, and Echo360.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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