Saturday, April 21, 2012

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If Financing is Marriage, is M&A Death? Top
cypress hillNot a week goes by where I don't get an email that goes like this: "I wanted to reconnect, as I've recently left [the company that bought my startup].  Long story, but suffice it to say their executives and I did not share the same vision for the future." Let's face it, although there have been some smashing successes, more often than not, Mergers & Acquisitions fail.  If you didn't know any better, you'd think that selling your company amounted to a kiss of death, when it ought to be closer to a rebirth and the start of something… better.  Indeed, while raising money from investors feels like marriage, M&A sure feels like death.
The Power Of AngelList Revealed In Its New Look: 978 Deals, 48 Acquisitions Top
Screen shot 2012-04-20 at 9.32.41 PMHaving found traction (in 2011, 500 startups and 2,500 investors joined the community, with a total of 12,500 introductions resulting), AngelList is now on a mission to capitalize on its position and become a more advanced resource for early-stage companies. (See its experimentation with a new pitch deck format.) Today, AngelList added some cool new features to its homepage (sign out if you're logged in), which offers the startup a more effective way to show off what it's been able to accomplish and gives all visitors a better way to break down the information they want to see.
Flush With Funding, Video Chat Service Tango Has Social Network Ambitions Top
Tango logoVideo chat service Tango is moving in a new direction, and this week, the company closed a round of $40 million in Series C funding which will help it get there. Today, many think of Tango's service as an up-and-coming Skype competitor, as it, too, is about real-time communication, specifically video calling, between users. But the comparison to Skype may no longer be apt. Tango is working towards becoming a more social service - something more akin to the micro social network Path, in fact. On the roadmap are several new social features, some of which make sense for a phone replacement utility (like text messaging), others which seem more like a shift to a social network (like exchanging photos).
A Mid-Career Switch: From Massachusetts State Trooper to iOS Developer-To-The-Rescue Top
before-after-2After writing about Lovestagram, the app that Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger's girlfriend made for him as a Valentine's Day present, we didn't think we could find a cuter story. But we totally did. Smoopa, a mobile commerce app I wrote about yesterday, is also the by-product of a little love story. Derek Langton, who served as a Massachusetts state trooper for 18 years, picked up programming over the last year and a half to change his career and prove his ex-Googler husband and Smoopa's co-founder, Mendel Chuang wrong. "When you have an economy like the one we have now and when you're trying to change career paths, it's not easy," Langton said. "But it comes down to motivation. It's like losing weight. People try and fail. But when you see that it's a lifestyle change and you make it part of who you are, you can be successful."
Got Pot? Leafly Can Help Top
Screen shot 2012-04-20 at 1.39.52 PMDuring my daily combing of tech news feeds/breaks to learn more about the wide world of drugs, I stumbled upon this interesting little service called Leafly. Essentially, you hop on over to to do one of two things: find local dispensaries or explore various strains of the Mary Jane. But the set-up is quite nice, and with Marijuana legalization becoming a matter of when and not if, it could become a pretty huge part of the medicinal marijuana industry. The industry rivaled that of Viagra revenue in 2011 at around $1.7 billion, and is expected to reach $8.9 billion in 2016, according to a March 2011 See Change Strategy Report. So, what could essentially become the Yelp of gooey greenery is exciting to come across.
PicPlz Founder Dalton Caldwell: All This Gossip About The Instagram Sale Is 'A Waste Of Time' Top
11403v4-max-250x250Apparently lots of people are still talking about Instagram's sale to Facebook (last week seems like ages ago to those of us in the attention-deficit-disordered world of blogging, but I guess a $1 billion pricetag will tend to keep tongues wagging for a while.) The latest Instagram/Facebook detail the chattering classes are seizing on? Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz's position in the deal, which is smaller than it would have been had the firm not decided to ultimately place ultimately opted to place more of its money and support behind PicPlz, a competing mobile photo sharing app. Well at least one person has had enough of the snark: PicPlz co-founder Dalton Caldwell.
Facebook Updates Android App: 1.9 Adds Photos, Message Sharing From Home Screen Top
Android 1.9 Facebook messengerFacebook has released an update to its Android app today that should give users of the social network on Android devices a more integrated and instant experience -- and takes Facebook another step closer to making its mobile app experience more like the one people have when using the social network on the web. Specifically, the new version lets users share photos and messages direct from the home screen of their devices, and it includes several features that had been in the standalone Messenger app.
Live From The First Ever MamaBear Family Conference Top
Screen Shot 2012-04-20 at 4.03.17 PMBecause I'm so clearly ready to settle down and have a family, I am at the first ever 500Startups Mamabear Family conference in Mountain View today, watching a group of talks from family-oriented startups and people who have experience with family oriented startups -- like Wittlebee's Sean Percival and mama-entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg. Yesterday I was totally ready to remove my uterus, but today my biological clock is all "Ring the alarm!" now that I know that the mom space = major moola (that sounds really gross actually, sorry). If you too are itching to go beyond the social photo sharing black hole and build something useful for families and chillens, watch the Livestream above for tips and tricks.
What Would You Do For A TCTV Interview? Digital Ocean Employee Does 100 Pushups [TCTV] Top
Yesterday at New York Tech Day we met with quite a few great companies including Digital Ocean. These guys are pretty established in the cloud space. They offer OS agnostic cloud servers and are giving away some service space for free to NYTD participants and their minimum package is $5 a month. Pretty basic stuff.
Tiggzi's Drag-And-Drop Mobile App Builder Goes Beyond Templates Top
Tiggzi - FeaturesThere are plenty of services out there that will let you build simple mobile apps without the need to know how to program. The problem with most of these is that you quickly reach their limits once you want to build more complex apps. Tiggzi, a new cloud-based service by software engineering company Exadel, wants to provide a bridge between the world of drag-and-drop app builders and more complex tools. With Tiggzi, you could build a basic app without any programming knowledge, but the service is really meant for more advanced users who can use it to design complex apps that can hook into virtually any REST API on the net.
Khan Academy Partners Up With 23andMe To Make Learning About Genetics Fun Top
23andmekhanIt's 4/20, and you know exactly what that means: It's National DNA Day! (What, were you expecting something else?) Yep -- this is the official day to commemorate the 1953 publishing of the first scientific paper on the double-helix structure of DNA, which was famously co-authored by James Watson and Francis Crick (with the sometimes overlooked contributions of others.) Anyway, to celebrate, educational non-profit powerhouse Khan Academy has announced a partnership with personal genetics testing company 23andMe to "promote the importance of genetics education." Specifically, this means that Khan Academy's website now has educational videos produced by 23AndMe on topics such as Genetics 101.
Facebook's $1 Billion Instagram Deal Didn't Affect Path's Valuation In Recent Raise Top
pathWhy? Because the term sheets were signed weeks ago. The deal was only announced this week. (Yes, sorry, there isn't a more interesting reason.) However, Scott Raney, a partner at Redpoint Ventures, the firm that led the deal, suspects the valuation would have almost certainly gone up in this TCTV interview. (He didn't comment on the previously reported $250 million valuation number.)
Equally Creepy And Creative, Cheek'd Is Online Dating In Reverse Top
Cheek'd, Cards-1I've covered a few online dating services in my day, but this one has got to be the most creative. It's called Cheek'd, and I'd categorize it as a place where business cards meets picking up prospective boyfriends/girlfriends/one-night stands. Here's how it works: you go over to the Cheek'd website, at which point you take a couple minutes to fill out a profile. The fields of personal representation are actually a bit more novel than most dating sites, asking things like where you're most likely to be found, the most played song on your iPod, and your favorite board game. Upload a pic, and the fun really begins.
Event Marketing: The Key To F-Commerce? Top
facebook commerceSpeak to people who think Facebook will be a screaming buy at its likely IPO valuation of $100b+ and they will say with confidence, "Facebook is just getting started." What they mean is that Facebook is just starting to find ways to monetize its 845 million users; the social network started with the lowest hanging fruit, which was advertising, then moved on to taking a cut of in-app virtual goods purchases, and now presumably has a long laundry list of other ways to enmesh its users and grow its top line. High on that list is a controversial proposition: commerce on Facebook, otherwise known as F-commerce. Though an initial rush of branded retailers set up storefronts on Facebook pages, several of them, including GameStop, JC Penney, Nordstrom, and The Gap, decided in February to shut them down. It turns out that simply replicating a web storefront on Facebook isn't compelling for consumers, particularly when the brand's fully-functioning and pretty convenient web site is only one click away. Moreover, brands were leery of driving commerce traffic to Facebook rather than to their own sites where they could better control the experience and manage consumers through a purchase conversion funnel.
Gillmor Gang Live 04.20.12 (TCTV) Top
Gillmor Gang test patternGillmor Gang - Robert Scoble, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. Recording has concluded.
Spring Cleaning: Google Shuts Down Patent Search Homepage, One Pass, Google Related & More Top
googleEver since Larry Page took over as Google's CEO, the company has shut down more and more of its products that were only being used by a limited number of users. Today, the company announced another round of "spring cleaning." In the process, Google is shutting down a number of APIs, as well as its Google Flu Vaccine Finer, Google Related, Google Sync for BlackBerry, the mobile web app for Google Talk and One Pass, its payment platform for online news publishers.
Facebook Says "Yo Google and Apple, HTML5 Apps Will Suck Until Your Mobile Browsers Improve" Top
Facebook Google Apple HTML5Facebook has revealed that its HTML5 site has twice as many users as its iOS and Android apps combined. But that's actually a problem, because Apple and Google's mobile browsers don't support photo uploads or high-performance animation for HTML5 -- features that a crucial to getting Facebook mobile site users sharing more and convincing app developers to port to HTML5 where Facebook can tax payments. To encourage mobile browser advancement, Facebook formed the W3C community group, but Apple and Google, the two partners it needs most, have refused to join. Since these oft-rivals to the social network own the dominant mobile browsers Safari and Chrome, Facebook's efforts may have little impact, HTML5 apps and games will stay inferior, and both Facebook and the end user will miss out.
How Twitter Helped This Small-Town Newspaper Win A Pulitzer Prize [TCTV] Top
tuscaloosatweetsIt's not often that you look at a Twitter stream and think, "This is really Pulitzer material." But if you happen to be looking at the Twitter accounts of the Tuscaloosa News and its reporting staff, that would actually be the case. This week, Western Alabama's Tuscaloosa News was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting based on its coverage of the massive tornado outbreak that hit the region in late April 2011. The paper extensively covered the storm and its aftermath in its print and online versions, but that wasn't all -- its staff also used Twitter to report the latest on-the-ground details about the tornado, its damages, and rescue and cleanup efforts. And for the first time, the Pulitzer committee this year took tweets and other social media updates when awarding the breaking news prize.
TechCrunch Giveaway: Olympics Committee Goes Social, Win A Samsung Galaxy Tab And More Top
-3For those of you who love the Olympic Games, the 2012 London Olympics are just under 100 days away. The International Olympic Committee just launched an awesome Olympic Athletes' Hub which connects Olympic fans to their favorite Olympic athletes. It's a searchable directory of both past and present Olympians that collects and displays posts from their Facebook and Twitter accounts. It strings in photos, videos, training tips and tons more from verified athletes' popular social media accounts. Already, over 1,000 Olympians have joined and as you can imagine the number is continuing to grow. As the summer games in London begin, people can also live-chat with athletes directly from the Olympic Village and see real-time results from the competitions. With special thanks to the International Olympic Committee, we have two Samsung Galaxy Tabs to give away, along with one autographed t-shirt from Michael Phelps, and one from Usian Bolt. We will pick two winners.
New Makeover Makes Mobile Design Community MyColorscreen Even Better Top
mcsMuch as I love all the phones in my arsenal, there always comes a time when I grow weary of the stock experience. Rather than leave up it to some company to gussy up my phone for me, I've instead turned to the internet for ways to spruce up my daily travelling companions. That's where sites like MyColorscreen comes in. First launched in 2011, MyColorscreen was envisioned as a social network where phone geeks and design aficionados can get together to ooh and ahh over some handsome homescreens. Now, after over a year since launch and with over 11,000 designs shared, MyColorscreen has revamped itself to make that process of sharing that aesthetic know-how even better.


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