i-drive Nets $12M, Acquires The Digs

Adding weight to the company’s efforts to expand Web-based content organization and management, i-drive.com secured $12.5 million in venture capital earlier this month.

Global Retail Partners led the new financing that saw ZDNet follow as a first-time investor. Existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Partners Group and Information Technology Ventures all contributed at pro rata or greater, said Jeff Bonforte, founder and chief executive of i-drive.

Separately, the company acquired The Digs Network Inc. as part of what Bonforte described as an aggressive partnering program.

Since securing its first round financing last year, i-drive has increased the number of registered users to more than one million and has partnered with 40 universities. The company plans to use the new capital to continue developing its Web-based tools, as well as to support an aggressive marketing campaign and university consortium initiatives.

The company’s tools allow users to collect Web content in personal folders that can hold financial research, e-commerce receipts, MP3s, photos and desktop files. Users can access folders from any location, and they can share content with anyone.

Following the investment, Linda Fain Levenson of Global Retail Partners joined the company’s board of directors.

Bonforte said i-drive’s investors have urged the company to aggressively pursue acquisitions like The Digs.

“If you want to define a space, then [M&A] will be a part of the strategy,” he said. “We have great investors that urge us to hit home runs.”

The Digs operates thedigs.com, which is an online music storage community with a strong presence in the college market. The company has also developed intuitive user interface design.

Current i-drive partnerships include MP3.com, Epitonic.com and Blue Shield of California.