Despite Small Fund, Primary Venture Partners Showcases Array of Services

At $3.3 billion, the amount Wal-Mart Stores Inc. paid for Jet.com Inc., the online retailer became the largest venture-backed company at time of exit ever in the New York metropolitan area. But the record-setter had just one local investor that backed it in its early stages: seed firm Primary Venture Partners.

Primary’s general partners, Brad Svrluga and Benjamin Sun, have been investing in New York for a long time, earlier under the High Peaks Venture Partners moniker. Most of their major deals have a New York connection and were sourced locally, including Jet.com; Ticketfly LLC, acquired by Pandora Media Inc. for about $450 million; and even South Korea-based Coupang, valued at $5 billion last year.

It was at a game of pickup basketball open to all New Yorkers in the gym at Stuyvesant High School where Mr. Sun met Bom Kim in 2009, said Mr. Sun. At that time, Mr. Kim, who had just sold a small media company, wanted to start something new. Mr. Sun ended up investing in Mr. Kim’s new e-commerce startup, Coupang, first as an angel investor and then through Primary and is still on the company’s board.

Jet.com and Coupang together showcase Primary’s eye for New York startup talent, but also the firm’s service approach to venture capital.

Primary—which closed a $60 million pool last year—hopes to demonstrate that even small funds can offer portfolio companies a bevy of services, from recruiting to business development, that have become par for the course at large firms, especially at West Coast VCs such as Andreessen Horowitz.

Read the full text from The Wall Street Journal.

Electric.ai Raises Seed Round to Provide IT Support Via Slack Chat

After selling his Swarm Mobile startup toGroupon and working at the public company in San Francisco, Ryan Denehy has made an unusual move: He returned to New York to launch a new business, Electric.ai.

The startup, incorporated as Electric AI Inc., provides chat-based information technology support to small businesses in the Slack Technologies Inc. messenger. It plans to launch its service next month to a few paying customers, Mr. Denehy said. It is one of many forthcoming uses of chatbots in business.

Bowery Capital just led a $2 million seed round for Electric.ai with participation from another local seed venture firm, Primary Venture Partners.

Read the full text from The Wall Street Journal.

This startup wants to stop sick people Googling their symptoms and worrying they're about to die

We've all done it: Feeling under the weather, we've turned to the web to work out what might be wrong with us, only to find out that we're on the verge of certain death.

While forums and online health websites can be useful in terms of researching what your symptoms may be caused by, they often cause a lot of unnecessary worry and are no match for seeking the advice of a medical expert, in person — and even then, doctors can make mistakes.

A New York City-based startup wants to empower consumers by providing user-generated data on how other people with similar symptoms to them were treated and how they recovered so they can more accurately assess what is wrong with them and ask the right questions of their physicians.

Kang Health announced on Wednesday it has raised a $3.3 million seed round, led by Mangrove Capital Partners, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Primary Ventures, and Comcast Ventures.

Read the full text on Business Insider.

New York Gets a New Ratings Service for Restaurants

A new service for rating restaurants has released its first results for New York City, and the winners are: Eleven Madison Park, Atera and a host of similar restaurants that often end up on such lists.

The system is called Renzell. Created by Bo Peabody, an entrepreneur who owns restaurants in Massachusetts, it claims to report the experience of high-end diners more accurately than professional critics, books like the Michelin Guides, collected ratings on Yelp and in the Zagat guides or rankings like the World’s 50 Best Restaurants do.

Renzell’s rating panel consists of more than 2,000 members, many of whom answered the company’s call for people who dine out frequently at upscale restaurants; word of mouth attracted many participants. They dine at a selected group of restaurants at their own expense, anonymously, then use an app to complete a lengthy questionnaire about the experience. The data they submit is run through an algorithm that the company has developed to determine the rankings.

Read the full text from The New York Times.

This one-person startup that sells pizza is so profitable, the founder has hired over 100 people in less than a year with hardly any investors

Ilir Sela's friends and family learned to get used to his ring tone. When it went off, they knew they had to quiet down and turn off the music so Sela could take care of business. 

That business was turning an online pizza order into a real-life delivery to someone's home. Sela was doing it manually: He'd get an email with an order and call it in himself. 

"I remember going to switch from Verizon to AT&T, because AT&T allowed you to browse the internet and take phone calls at the same time," Sela told Business Insider. "At the time, I was getting orders once every few hours. I didn’t have a staff to transmit the order, I didn’t even have the technology to transmit the order."

Read the full article at Business Insider.

Meet the Fast-Growing Company That Wants to Make the Web More Polite

You visit a website for the first time and right away you get a request for your email address. You're tempted to flee. After all, do you really want to give some random site your information? You've only just met.

New York's Bounce Exchange wants to give you a reason to stick around. The behavioral automation software and analytics provider is on a mission to make the internet more polite. By analyzing user behavior--for instance, from where someone enters a site and the amount of time he or she spends there--Bounce Exchange wants to maximize conversion. In other words, it wants to help you turn consumers into customers.

The company's strategy is starting to pay off. The company's revenue ballooned to more than $15.7 million last year, up from $107,216 in 2012. By 2018, it expects to bring in more than $100 million in annual revenue.

Read more.

Wal-Mart to Acquire Jet.com for $3.3 Billion

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. signed a $3.3 billion deal to buy web retailer Jet.com Inc., bringing in some outside help to jump-start growth at the retail giant’s e-commerce operations.

The deal is the largest-ever purchase of a U.S. e-commerce startup and a sign Wal-Mart Chief Executive Doug McMillon sees the shift to online shopping and the expansion ofAmazon.com Inc. as existential threats to the company’s five decades of growth.

Healthify Raises $2.5 Million to Improve Community Health

Healthify, whose mission is to change the way healthcare addresses community health, today announced the close of a $2.5 million seed round led by a syndicate of investors including Primary Venture Partners (PVP), Milestone Venture Partners (MVP), Acumen, Kapor Capital, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. Healthify works with managed care organizations and healthcare providers to better connect patients with community services to resolve unmet social needs. The company already provides services in 24 states and raised the money to expand its coordination feature set into a nationwide network of insurers, healthcare providers, and community agencies.