Over our long history, CommerceNet has invested in many types of endeavors, often taking an equity stake in companies in return for the resources we supplied.
Our favorite kind of equity investment was an “ignition start,” where we supplied a small amount of money and a lot of other assistance from networking to strategic advisement. The goal was to help the entrepreneur move beyond the “just an idea” stage to having a business plan, prototype, and team. Most of our portfolio companies have moved through stealth mode to early stage to launched (to acquired!). Some of our alumni include:
Technology To Beat Advanced Cancer: The xCures technology platform uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) and predictive modeling to identify and rank the most promising treatment options for people with cancer who have exhausted the standard of care.
The xx network was designed to support decentralized messaging, payments, and dApps in response to growing public concern for user privacy as well as the emerging threat of quantum computing.
ChipIn’s plan was to create web widgets to do some types of crowd-funding — way before crowdfunding was cool. The idea was to make it easy for users to collect money by enabling them to organize fundraisers (“let’s all chip-in for Bob’s going-away lunch”) in a quick, simple, and secure way. ChipIn also made it simple for organizers to publicize their fund-raisers, by providing powerful widgets that could be embedded in social media. ChipIn redirected its efforts to being a media-oriented embeddable widget platform (“Sprout Builder”), renaming itself to Sprout. The re-oriented Sprout/ChipIn merged with InMobi (an India-based company providing a mobile advertising/marketing platform) in August 2011.
In February 2008, ChipIn launched Sprout Builder, a Web-based authoring environment for creating sophisticated Flash content. Sprout Builder was a quick-and-easy way for anyone to build, publish, and manage sophisticated multimedia content, including mini-sites, widgets, banners, mashups, and more. Users can create a variety of Sprouts, from promotional to personal to informational. Sprouts could be edited at any time—all copies in circulation were instantly updated, so audiences could be kept engaged and informed.
CollabRx applied collaborative research to slash the time, cost, and risk of therapy development for neglected diseases. The CollabRx model was comprised of virtual biotechs: networks of scientists, clinicians, and CROs. They aimed to use best practices from Big Pharma, industrial engineering, and academic research, facilitated by Web-based collaboration and ecommerce.
The company was acquired by Tegal in August 2012. Tegal took on CollabRx’s name soon after the acquisition, and in November of 2015 was acquired in turn by Meditox, which soon renamed itself to Rennova Health. We don’t blame you for being confused by all the name changes, we’re confused ourselves.
CommunityWalk provides easy-to-customize online maps for community and business events, websites, and blogs. They are dedicated to providing a powerful yet simple and easy-to-use interface for creating informational, interactive, and engaging maps.
The company began as a site for mapping communities, but it’s evolving at a rapid pace, with new functionality being added daily. Users currently enjoy an array of capabilities, showing photos, adding comments, displaying interactive media, exploring hundreds of fantastic maps, and more.
In January 2007, CommunityWalk launched Wedding Mapper, a premier online destination that allows couples to create an interactive and fully customizable wedding map for sharing large quantities of detailed information, such as ceremony and reception specifics, lodging, travel logistics, popular tourist sites, and places that are important to the engaged couple.
Acquired by Fox Interactive Media in February 2006, Newroo provides users with a powerful toolset to create vertical, news-driven websites built around personal passions and interests. Newroo’s technology was designed to filter micro-content from around the Web and has since been reconfigured to serve as the news arm of MySpace.
Powerset built a transformative consumer search engine based on natural language processing that breaks the confines of keyword search. By making search more natural and intuitive, Powerset helped change how we search the Web, delivering higher quality results.
On August 1, 2008, Powerset officially became part of Microsoft.
Usable Security Systems
Acquired by WebRoot Software in August 2010. UsableLogin worked to make passwords obsolete and give secure access to any web site. All you had to do was recognize your picture and remember one simple codeword to login securely, anywhere.
Acquired by IBM in 2006, Webify Solutions was a leading provider of on-demand, service-oriented business software for the insurance and healthcare markets. The company offered hundreds of rebuilt, industry-specific, standards-based accelerators, tools, and frameworks to help users build their own SOA infrastructures. IBM made Webify part of its WebSphere Business Services Fabric.
Science Commons and CommerceNet, together with the Public Library of Science and CollabRx, are collaborating on a project to transform drug discovery—a collaborative ecosystem of knowledge and research services called Health Commons.
Health Commons is a coalition of parties interested in changing the way basic science is translated into the understanding and improvement of human health. Coalition members agree to share data, knowledge, and services under standardized terms and conditions by committing to a set of common technologies, digital information, principals, research materials, contracts, workflows, and software. These commitments ensure that knowledge, data, materials, and tools can move seamlessly from partner to partner across the entire drug discovery chain. This, in turn, enables participants to offer standardized services (ranging from simple molecular assays to complex drug synthesis) in directories that others can discover and integrate into their own processes to expedite development—or assemble like LEGO blocks to create new services.
SupplyFrame became the world’s leading online component information service for the electronics industry, supporting both product manufacturers and industry advertisers.
For designers and procurement professionals, SupplyFrame provided a powerful, trusted search engine for finding technical information on millions of electronic components from thousands of manufacturers. The technical content: free, comprehensive, and vendor-neutral; and users can access it without registering.
SupplyFrame also allowed advertisers to engage design engineers and procurement professionals in a value-added format by delivering relevant, contextual advertising at the moment components are being researched. The unique capabilities to support new product introductions, up-selling, campaign promotions, lead generation, and e-commerce have made SupplyFrame the fastest growing pay-for-performance marketing system in the industry.
PatientsLikeMe was created to empower patients with life-changing diseases, providing access to tools, information, and community experiences. The company committed to offering a better, more effective way to capture valuable results and share them with patients, healthcare professionals, and industry organizations that are trying to treat the disease.