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Beenz Raises $20m Funding - Ellison Pumps in $5m.

Internet reward-point "bank" Beenz.com Inc yesterday revealed it has raised $20m in private cash in its third round of venture capital financing. Investors include Oracle Corp CEO Larry Ellison, who pumped in $5m from his own wallet, Japanese retailer Hikari Tsushin Ltd, merchant bank Gefinor SA's Gefinor USA subsidiary, and French VC firms Viventures Partners SA and Artemis SA. Details of how the funding was split between the companies, and what valuation the investment places on Beenz, were not revealed.

Beenz operates a reward points style web "currency" which is used as a marketing tool by .com companies to bring traffic to their sites. Users can pick up beenz for free by visiting certain pages, giving out personal information, or purchasing items online. These virtual units can then be traded in at a number of beenz partner sites for goods and services. Users can have as many accounts as they have email addresses, but beenz cannot be transferred between accounts. There are around 115,000 beenz users worldwide, and just under five million transactions have taken place since the March launch.

The investment was a sale of $20m worth of series A convertible preferred stock. ING Barings LLC acted as placement agent. Earlier this year, Beenz raised $3.8m in its second round of funding from Gefinor USA.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 16, 1999
Words:219
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