EVANSTON, IL 1/22/08—Ceres Venture Fund, LP, an early stage venture capital fund, announced today that it has invested in the $3.5 Million Series A Round of funding for TrafficCast International, Inc., the leading provider of digital traffic data and software for next-generation traffic information services.
TrafficCast International had previously announced raising $2 million in capital but the Board of Directors extended the round to accommodate additional investor interest and to facilitate growth in a rapidly expanding market for mobile and interactive travel information.
Chicago-based Ceres Venture Fund, LP, led the extension. They were joined by NEW Capital Fund LP of Appleton, Phenomenelle Angels Fund I, LP of Madison, and Women Angels of Milwaukee and Florida.
As previously announced, the funds are primarily earmarked for marketing expansion and ongoing technology development. TrafficCast International had previously secured a $1 Million line of credit from SVB Silicon Valley Bank. The company has additional debt facilities in place with the State of Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
Personal navigation devices continued to be among the hottest consumer technologies in the recent holiday season. Along with the rapid growth of mobile devices enabled by GPS location tracking functions, the company believes the stage is set for rapid growth. It anticipates attracting additional institutional funding in a Series B round later this year.
With the close of Series A Round Funding, the company has also announced that Sona Wang, Managing Director of the Ceres Venture Fund, will join the TrafficCast Board of Directors. She becomes the Board's third independent board member, joining Paul Schneider, Director of Schneider National—one of the world's largest providers of fleet, transportation and logistics services, and Terry Kelly, CEO and Founder of Weather Central and MyWeather, Inc.—a leading provider of Weather data and presentation graphics to media.
"The market for traffic information is entering a period of explosive growth in line with the rapidly increasing demand for location-based services," said Ms. Wang. "TrafficCast has exceptionally valuable IP, patents and meaningful strategic alliances in place to take advantage of the emerging opportunities, and is well positioned for both the market and the Ceres Fund's investment portfolio."
"I know firsthand how significant accurate traffic information is to fleet and logistics management," commented Mr. Schneider. "With these new funds, and Sona's expert guidance, TrafficCast will become the industry's predictive traffic information and technology leader."
"In survey after survey, media consumers consistently rank accurate weather and traffic information among their most valued information," said Mr. Kelly. "Traffic and Weather are key ratings and circulation drivers and TrafficCast technology can uniquely integrate the two in forecasts of immense benefit to consumers, and power the next generation of such content."
"With the close of this Series A Round and our lines of credit, TrafficCast International has a strong foundation to expand our technology and services to provide predictive information to travelers," said Connie Li, co-founder and CEO. "We are pleased to have found investors who share our vision, and Board Members whose expertise will add considerable value to our team."
Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. is one of the few venture capital funds focused on high growth investment opportunities in the information technology, healthcare and business services areas in the Midwest. With more than 60 years of experience in venture capital and operating early stage companies, Ceres' principals, Sona Wang, Donna Williamson, and Laura Pearl, have collectively invested more than $130 million in capital. Ceres is based in Evanston, Illinois.