Deal Watch: another cash infusion for MyStrands

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Friday, February 01, 2008

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CORVALLIS-BASED MyStrands, a developer of social recommendation technology, scooped up another $24 million in early December, bringing its VC war chest to $55 million to date. Spanish bank BBVA led the series B2 funding along with existing investor Debaeque.

The company says it “develops technologies to better understand people’s taste and help them discover new things they like and didn’t know about already.”

Or, put another way by Gabriel Aldamiz-echevarria, MyStrands VP of communications:

“You need to understand what people like and give them tools to control their data. The future is that everything is going to be personalized. It’s the new age of the Internet.”

MyStrands has developed a social recommender engine, which provides real-time personalized recommendations of products and services through computers, mobile phones, and other Internet-connected devices. It takes into account that taste is context sensitive and evolves over time. It also has developed a scalable Personalized Discovery Platform. The company says these two developments have created sales of $12 million during 2007.

“Now we are going to see a shift. Personalization will come with us wherever we go, online and offline,” predicts Aldamiz-echevarria. “The search industry has been here for 30 years, but only Google made us realize that search was relevant. We think the search industry will shift a bit toward helping you not only find things but to guiding you to things you like. People will realize more and more that they can be personal. We are entering the age of the guide.”

Since it was founded in 2003, the company has grown to 97 employees (35 in Corvallis). It also has offices in New York and Barcelona, Spain.

The tech press has reported that the new capital would be used to move beyond the current recommendation service, which is centered on music recommendations, and expand into video, online shopping and other media. So what are the next big ideas?

Aldamiz-echevarria isn’t giving it up.

“We’ve got huge plans,” he says, “but I’m not going to give you specifics.”

ROBIN DOUSSARD

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

ANNOUNCED EXP. CLOSE BUYER / PARENT (HQ) SELLER (HQ) / PARENT PRICE (TERMS)
Dec. 5 ND CEI Acquisition (Portland) Christenson Electric (Portland)/Microfield Group (Portland) $9.65m (cash + debt assumption)
Dec. 5 4Q ‘07 Catcher Holdings (VA) Vivato Networks (Portland) $1.35m (stock for stock)
Dec. 7 4Q ‘07 Gheen Irrigation Works (Eugene) OR & TX manufacturing assets/Lake (Eugene) ND
Dec. 7 1Q ‘08 O’Brien Auto Group (WA) DeLon Auto Center (Salem) ND
Dec. 10 ND Drake Gold Resources (Portland) Wolverine & LC2 - AG prospects (BC) ND
Dec. 13 4Q ‘07 Northwest Pipe (Portland) S Square Tube Products (CO) ND (assets)
Dec. 26 1Q ‘08 I-Flow (CA) AcryMed (Tigard) $25m
Dec. 27 4Q ‘07 Cooper Industries (TX) Sure Power Industries (Tualatin) ND (cash)

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

ANNOUNCED BUYER / PARENT (HQ) REAL ESTATE (LOCATION) / SELLER (HQ) PRICE
Dec. 5 Jennipher L. Grudzien; Charles M. McGrath office building (Bend)/ Daniel and Tambry Broise Joint Trust $1.4m
Dec. 7 Washington Real Estate Holdings (WA) office building (Portland)/ Port of Portland $29.2m
Dec. 7 Balaclava Holdings/ Belkorp (BC) apartment complexes (Portland)/ Essex Property Trust (CA) $97.5m
Dec. 12 Port of Vancouver (WA) land (WA)/ Alcoa Aluminum and Evergreen Aluminum $49m
Dec. 12 Gee-Aspora II (CA) office properties (Portland)/ Terrell Group Management (Portland) $13.3m
Dec. 12 Loren Ness (WA) Tioga Hotel & Koski Building (Coos Bay)/ Estate of Merlin Wisby $2.63m
Dec. 13 Triple Net Properties (CA) 5 office buildings (Beaverton)/ NNN 2003 Value Fund $5.4b
Dec. 17 undisclosed buyer 141 homes (Portland)/ Buena Vista Custom Homes $65m
Dec. 19 Kailash Ecovillage Cabana Apartments (Portland)/ Jack Barry Zwahlen Family Trust $1.7m
Dec. 20 Port of Portland (Portland) 700-acre industrial site (Portland)/ Reynolds Metals $17.25m
Dec. 21 Ashforth Pacific (Portland) Pacwest Center (Portland)/ Mitsubishi Estate (Japan) $161.5m
Dec. 27 private investment group warehouse (CO)/Nautilus (WA) $6.3m
Dec. 29 Saltzman Properties apartment complex (Bend)/ PTLA Corp $14.25m

CAPITAL RAISING

ANNOUNCED COMPANY (HQ) / LEADERSHIP INVESTOR (HQ) PRICE (TERMS)
Dec. 4 MyStrands (Corvallis) / Francisco J. Martin, CEO BBVA; Debaeque (Spain) $24m (series B-2)
Dec. 12 Provenance Hotels (Portland) / Gordon Sondland, President undisclosed bank $24m (mortgage financing)
Dec. 14 Elemental Technologies (Portland) / Sam Blackma, CEO Oregon Angel Fund; Bend Venture Conference; Seattle Alliance of Angels (OR & WA) $1.05m (seed round)
Dec. 19 AVI BioPharma (Portland) / K. Michael Forrest, CEO institutional investors $20.3m (common stock + warrants)

List researched by Mark Druskoff

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