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News in brief: Three ‘top 20 start-ups of 2011’ secure investment

Startups rounds up the latest news and deals changing the face of our space

Blippar announces seed investment from Qualcomm

Mobile start-up Blippar has secured a six figure investment of seed capital from Qualcomm, the founders have announced.

The first mobile application of its kind, Blippar’s image recognition and augmented reality platform has had hundreds of thousands of downloads since launching seven months ago and attracted campaigns from some of the world’s biggest brands.

Speaking exclusively to Startups, co-founder Jess Butcher said she hoped the funding would provide a springboard for the company to seek series-A funding in the next few months, adding:

“This is a huge vote of confidence and is not only testament to the robustness of our technology, but also to our business model. Qualcomm have already started working with us to leverage our platform for international growth and we’re hugely excited to be sharing this journey with them.”

Adzuna secures £500K backing from Index Ventures

The innovative job search engine Adzuna.co.uk has raised half a million pounds of investment from Index Ventures, The Accelerator Group and existing investors, including Passion Capital.

This follows a round of seed investment, which the start-up raised before launching in July 2011, with the latest capital expected to drive further product innovation and international expansion.

The start-up, which collates the bulk of UK job vacancies into one real-time job board, is the brainchild of Doug Monro and Andrew Hunter, whose collective CVs encompass eBay, Gumtree, Zoopla and Qype.

Robin Klein, venture partner at Index, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Andrew and Doug, experienced entrepreneurs whom we know so well from their track records.”

Monro added: “We’re really excited to have top-class investors involved. We are passionate about making the classified search experience fundamentally better for users in the UK and beyond. This will help us towards that vision.”

Fantasy Shopper raises £2.1m from Accel Partners and NEA

Social gaming start-up Fantasy Shopper has received its first round of funding, totalling $3.3m (£2.1m).

The investment, which was raised from top venture firms Accel Partners and NEA, will enable the fledgling firm to build on its existing technology, as well as expand into new markets.

The web start-up – which enables online shoppers to create and share a virtual wardrobe of fashion items available in physical stores, and purchase their favourites – has experienced meteoric growth since launching its beta site in October 2011, including winning Amazon Web Services’ Global Start-up Challenge in November.

Chris Prescott, co-founder of Fantasy Shopper, said: “Our early community loves the product, and our engagement and retention metrics are growing exponentially. This funding from Accel and NEA provides the support and resources to take the product, business and community to the next level.”

All three businesses were chosen to feature among our Top 20 start-ups of 2011

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