TechStars NY Grad ThinkNear Closes $1.6 M Round with IA and Google Ventures

UPDATE 7/26/2011: TechCrunch broke the embargo, as usual, but Erick Schonfeld was nice enough to link back to this original story on the round.

ThinkNear has announced that Google Ventures, who the team met during their time at TechStars NY, is one of its backers. Other investors include Metamorphic Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, FF Venture Capital, Real Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, BoldStart VC, David Tisch, Bill Boebel, Ben Sun, David Cohen and Matt Turck.

“We had only planned to raise $1 million but got $2 million worth of interest before we stopped looking,” says Founder Eli Portnoy. “We chose mainly to raise from the mentors we met through TechStars, people we knew could add value.”

The company won’t disclose how many clients it has yet, because it sees its “smart marketing engine” in competition for the same slice of the budget at restaurants and small businesses who might try out heavyweight services like Groupon and Living Social.

and now back your the original post…

– – –

There isn’t a lot of buzz around the field of “yield management” these days. But while ThinkNear’s seems to have settled on a boring tagline for their business, it actually sits at the middle of some of the most interesting trends in the much hyped mobile space right now.

Betabeat has learned that ThinkNear just closed their funding round, raising $1.63 million instead of the $1 million they announced at TechStars NY Demo Day back in April. The round, led by Roger Ehrenberg’s IA venture’s, includes a number of interesting investors.

“Its Sunday night, my kids are sleeping and I am back in the office listening to John type as he whips out some groundbreaking code,” Founder Eli Portnoy wrote on his blog this week. The company recently had a bad experience with a contractor that left them with shoddy work which delayed their progress. But Portnoy’s blog is filled with excitement about the company and burning the candle at both ends.

IA is all about big data. ThinkNear helps merchants by pulling together information from public check ins, weather, local events and more to help merchants maximize the flow of customers through their store. Portnoy and his co-founder John Hinnegan, earned their chops at Amazon, where they first conceived the idea for ThinkNear.

ThinkNear weighs all these different factors and delivers mobile ads and deals to nearby customers during times when business is slow. It’s the kind of ad inventory that is going to be growing very rapidly over the next year, as services like Google Offers and Groupon Now compete to win the loyalty of smartphone users. ThinkNear wants to build an ad network for serving these sort of real time proximity based ads/deals.

TechStars NY Grad ThinkNear Closes $1.6 M Round with IA and Google Ventures