- Instagram Is Now Posting 10 Photos A Second
- Bing Gordon: The Zynga/Facebook Credits Battle Was The Cuban Missile Crisis Of Tech
- Lark’s Silent Alarm And Sleep Monitoring System Lands At Apple Retail Stores
- Microsoft Officially Announces Windows Phone 7.1 Mango With 500 New Features
- What Investor Ashton Kutcher Looks For In Tech Companies
- Yandex Opens At $35 Per Share With A $11.2B Market Cap (Bigger Than LinkedIn)
- Facebook Ad Sales Chief: There Are 50 Million Likes Per Day For Brands
- Investors Bet Another $10 Million On Fring’s Ability To Rival Skype (+ Microsoft)
- Y Combinator’s Paul Graham: We’re Looking For People Like Us
- B&N Unleashes A New Nook: Touchscreen E-Ink, 2 Month Battery, $139
- Brightcove Launches App Cloud. It’s Not Just For Videos Anymore
- Live At The Barnes & Noble Event In New York
- Siano Raises Another $20 Million For Mobile TV Receiver Chips
- SV Angel Partners with Lerer Ventures to Cross Syndicate Valley/NYC Deals
- Opera Mini 6 For iOS – A Better Browser For iPhone And iPad? (Screenshots)
- Watch TechCrunch Disrupt Live Day 2!
- The e-G8 Talks Of A New Industrial Revolution – But Where Are The Steam Engines?
- Yandex Prices IPO At Higher Than Expected $25 Per Share, Raises $1.3 Billion
- Conversocial Secures $2.4m Series A Round From DFJ Esprit To Grow Social Media Tools
- Twitter Buys TweetDeck For $40 Million
- Jeff Jarvis: When It Comes To New Journalism, ‘Transparency Is The New Objectivity’
- Symantec Continues Move Into eDiscovery, Acquires Clearwell Systems For $390 Million
- Startup Battlefield At Disrupt: Day One, Session One
- Happy Toy Machine Allows You To Build Your Own Plush Toys
- BillGuard Will Track Hidden Fees And Billing Errors On Credit Card Bills
Posted: 24 May 2011 08:55 AM PDT
Here at TechCrunch Disrupt Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom has just announced a new milestone for photo service Instagram, at 10 user photos posted per second, up from 6 photos per second officially announced couple of months ago.
“We’re like that growth we saw last time was really large, until we saw today,” said Systrom. When asked whether Tumblr founder David Karp had any advice for Kevin, “Kevin seems to be a few steps ahead of me.”
Instagram currently has 3 million users after only six months of existence. “It turns out if you make something that people want it spreads really well,” says Systrom. "People wanted to take pictures and have them shared across multiple networks all at once."
Posted: 24 May 2011 08:51 AM PDT
Gordon, who aside from leading KPCB investments in Zynga is also a major fan (he’s reached the top level in CityVille), recounted some of the drama that went on last spring, when the gaming company came very close to breaking away from Facebook entirely over a dispute involving Facebook’s Credits system. In fact, when Arrington suggested that it was a sort of Cuban Missile Crisis of tech, Gordon agreed.
The dispute revolved around Facebook Credits, Facebook’s own online currency that game developers must use. Credits have an upside — they give users a consistent experience for purchasing virtual goods — but developers have to hand over a 30% cut. And Zynga, which was already raking in money hand over fist, obviously didn’t want to do that.
This led to some intense arguments both inside Zynga and between the gaming company and Facebook. Gordon recounted one night when “something happened… a server went down… and the rockets [from Facebook] were on the radar”. “There was a finger on the red button”. Gordon didn’t explicitly say what that red button actually was, but it was likely Zynga’s off-Facebook portal called Zynga Live, which didn’t rely on the social network nearly as much.
Obviously that red button never got pushed. “It would have been exciting, but it would have been a disaster for both sides” Gordon said. The two sides resolved their issues, with Zynga agreeing to a five year partnership during which it would use Facebook Credits.
Posted: 24 May 2011 08:30 AM PDT
Lark, a silent waking system that wakes you silently and naturally, is announcing big news today. After launching at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco last Fall, the company is announcing the public availability of its product and a retail deal with Apple stores in North America.
Lark’s system involves an iPhone app and a small band that you wear across your wrist while sleeping. You set the iPhone app to the time you need to wake up and the app will transform your phone into a night time alarm clock. The band includes a small device and sensor with bluetooth technology that will vibrate at the time you are supposed to wake up. Plus there’s no more jarring, loud alarms; so your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband won’t be woken up by your alarm.
Since launch, the startup has also added sleep monitoring to the device. Not only will the device include a sleep monitor, but Lark will offer personal sleep coaching and a seven day sleep assessment, to advise you on the best sleep patterns for your health, lifestyle and schedule.
Founded by Julia Hu, Lark had been working with a Harvard Medical School sleep expert, Dr. Jo Select, to test the app with students; and the app has been producing positive results. Not only are wearers of the device able to wake up from the vibrating technology, but their partners are reporting a better night’s sleep when their sleeping partner is using the vibrating device.
Lark, which has raised $1 million in funding from Lightspeed Ventures and other strategic investors, will set you back $129 for the alarm-only product, and $189 for the alarm and sleep monitoring product.
Posted: 24 May 2011 08:23 AM PDT
Today at Microsoft's Windows Phone VIP Reception, president of mobile communications Andy Lees and senior Windows Phone product manager Derek Snyder gave us a quick rundown of what to expect out of the newest version of the Windows Phone platform, WP7.1 or "Mango."
Though he didn't have time to cover all 500 new features, the focus will certainly center around communication, applications, and the way we use mobile internet. Along with the current service offerings in People Hub such as Facebook, Hotmail, and Gmail, Microsoft has gone ahead and added LinkedIn and Twitter. Mango will also bring with it a Groups feature, allowing multiple people to communicate across a multiple platforms, while simultaneously integrating those people's profiles, pictures, and a group history of all events and communication shared. Instead of only being able to communicate with groups that all share the same hardware maker, Mango employs Windows Live Messenger and Facebook Chat to keep you connected with friends, including those with other phones.
Posted: 24 May 2011 08:09 AM PDT
What many people do not know about actor and angel investor Ashton Kutcher is that he’s been interested in science and technology from a young age, starting out at the University of Iowa as a biomedical engineer. That obviously didn’t work out and he went the “Dude Where’s My Car” route until years later he launched Blah Girls at TechCrunch 50, which did not work out so well.
Kutcher said that he’s learned a lot of lessons from Blah Girls during an interview with Charlie Rose at TechCrunch Disrupt today, namely to listen people smarter than himself, specifically investors Ron Conway, Paul Graham, and Marc Andressen, “The failures that we have are sometimes expensive educations,” he said.
In addition to his company Katalyst <edia, Kutcher now has his own investment firm, AGrade, as a partnership between Ron Burkle, and Madonna’s manager. Kutcher has invested in Blekko, Flipboard, Milk and Zaarly thus far and also has another 12 undisclosed investments.
Since Kutcher is serious about his imprint in the valley, Rose asked him what his criteria for investments were and Kutcher outlined them:
a) Problem solvers — Are you solving a problem for a large subset of people?
b) Who the founders are — The Paul Graham maxim.
Extra credit: Investing in companies that can keep their servers up.
Said Kutcher, "One of the things I've become immune to is people talking about market cap and social media platforms," being more concerned about solving the more pressing issue of finding a way to separate signal from noise.
Kutcher also intelligently likened investing to making a movie, asking himself, “What does the market need or want? Like in a script, every character has a need or want.”
Posted: 24 May 2011 07:56 AM PDT
The price per share opened this morning at $35, giving Yandex a market cap of roughly $11.2 billion at its debut. That means its value currently far surpasses that of LinkedIn, which went public last week (successfully, too).
As Reuters remarked earlier this morning, an IPO at $25 per share would have already valued Yandex at more than 500 times its worth (!) when investors bought into the company back in 2000. Let the “is this a big, medium or small tech bubble” debates begin.
For the sake of comparison, LinkedIn was valued at $7.8 billion when it went public, and boasted a market cap of roughly $8.17 billion when the markets opened this morning.
Yandex, founded in 1997, today operates the most popular search engine and the most visited website in Russia (it is also the largest Russian Internet company by revenue). In 2010, the company generated 64% of all search traffic in Russian, trumping Google.
Yandex is among the largest high-tech companies in Russia, with an estimated workforce of about 2,500 employees. Currently, Yandex has branches all over Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kazan), Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Simferopol) and in the United States (in Palo Alto, CA, to be exact).
Today, the company joins the likes of Baidu, Google, Cisco, Microsoft and Apple on the NASDAQ stock market. We’ll see how it fares.
We’ll keep tracking Yandex’s share price throughout the day (and beyond, evidently).
Posted: 24 May 2011 07:49 AM PDT
Everson, who joined Facebook from Microsoft in February, says that advertising can be brought to life digitally through peer to peer recommendations and friend to friend experiences on Facebook. The social network is trying to work with top brands to help capitalize on this experiences. As she tells the audience, the “holy grail for branding are recommendations.”
Likes of course are a huge opportunity for Facebook when it comes to advertising. Everson says that there are currently 50 million likes per day for brands on Facebook, which is out of a billion or more likes per day across the web.
Everson says that founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks advertising has to be as compelling as sharing a status update or sharing a photo. The social network recently launched sponsored stories, which turns status updates, Likes, checkins and application activity on Facebook into advertisement for a brand. Everson says that the more progressive brands are starting to adopt this ad format, but of course display ads still reign supreme on the network. “We’re one percent done on our ad products,” says Everson.
That’s an impressive outlook, considering that Facebook is minting money from advertising currently. It’s hard to imagine that a company making billions on advertising thinks that they have only touched a small percentage of a market. Clearly, there will be more to come from Facebook on the advertising front.
Posted: 24 May 2011 07:47 AM PDT
Exclusive - Mobile communications startup fring, fresh off the heels of launching group video calls for smartphones, has raised a Series C round of financing from existing investors, TechCrunch has learned.
The amount that was raised is actually not being disclosed, but sources close to the company tell us that fring secured another $10 million in venture capital, bringing its total of funding raised to well north of $30 million.
We were also told fring’s annual revenue run rate currently hovers around $10 million – the company makes money from advertising and voice calling service fringOut.
The new financing will be used to further expand the company’s product portfolio, and to bring its video communication suite to a range of new devices and segments of users.
Fring says it is currently adding more than 1 million activations a month (with more than 40% of new users located in the USA), powering upwards of 10 million video call minutes per month and more than 100 million voice minutes per month.
Fring’s earlier backers participated in the Series C round, including North Bridge Venture Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Veritas Venture Partners.
Posted: 24 May 2011 07:34 AM PDT
Graham says that when people come to him and say they’ve got a great idea, his first response is, “Tell me about your cofounders”. In general the idea is less important, though he says that if it’s a really terrible idea that might reflect poorly on the founders, and a really great idea might lift them up.
“There are some people who just get what they want in the world. If you want to start a startup you have to be one of those people. You can’t be passive and wishy-washy,” Graham says.
Rose followed up with a key question: how can you tell which people have that kind of determination in ten minutes (which is how long YC interviews are)?
Graham says that it’s hard to tell. “We can be fooled about determination — you can usually tell how smart people are in ten minutes. But people can put on an act for determination for ten minutes.” The YC partners also look for mental flexibility — they’ll ask a company to rotate their idea 90 degrees to see how they respond. “Some people will say yeah, that would work. Others will say, ‘Oh no, actually we wanted to do the other thing.’”
Another key factor: Naughtiness. “Startups often have to do slightly devious things,” Graham says. “You can tell if people have a gleam in their eye. You don’t want people who would be obedient employees… we’re not looking for people who did what they were told in life.”
Graham recounted his initial interactions with Loopt founder Sam Altman, who he first spoke to when he was only 19. (“19 going on 40″, Rose added). Altman was actually initially rejected, but he “pushed back like a 40-year old” and told Graham that he would be joining the program.
Asked about the recurring arguments that we’re in a bubble, Graham said, “I worry prices are high, but I’m reluctant to use the word bubble. Things are not crazy. I warn people that prices are high and that they should raise money now, because things could change tomorrow.”
Overall, Graham says that YC partners are “looking for people like us”, explaining that many VCs are MBAs, whereas YC partners are mostly entrepreneurs. This, Rose later added, appears to be the lowers common denominator uniting the people that YC invests in.
Posted: 24 May 2011 07:30 AM PDT
Barnes & Noble just unveiled the latest and greatest Nook ereading device at a special NYC event. It’s a simple device, really. In fact B&N stated that this revamped Nook is the easiest to use ereading device on the market. The touchscreen enabled Nook, sorry Kobo, is said not to feature any page turning latency and a battery that last up to two months, which is double the current Kindle’s battery life.
Posted: 24 May 2011 07:15 AM PDT
Brightcove is no longer just for videos. Starting today, it is launching an entire new product line for making mobile and web apps called Brightcove App Cloud. Developers will be able to use App Cloud to create their apps once and then deploy them to the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, and beyond. It creates HTML5 apps as well as mobile touch websites, and it is not limited to video apps.
Brightcove App Cloud creates an app tablet, and then customizes it depending on which platform it will be deployed on.
Posted: 24 May 2011 06:59 AM PDT
We’re coming at you live from the Barnes & Noble superstore/cafe/public bathroom on Union Square where we hope to see an update to the Nook line. It’s my understanding that we’ll be seeing a new Nook Color Device with priced at about $140. Update this page as we live blog the event with bated breath.
Posted: 24 May 2011 06:44 AM PDT
Israeli startup Siano Mobile Silicon, a developer of mobile digital TV receiver chips, has just raised a $20 million in funding led by Jerusalem Venture Partners. This brings the startup’s total funding to $95.5 million.
Founded in late 2004, Siano develops and markets silicon semiconductor chips for reception of digital TV on mobile, portable and hand-held devices. The company’s chips are mainly used for the implementation of mobile TV in emerging markets such as China, Brazil and Europe. In fact, Siano says it has a 50 percent market share in China and Latin America for its chipsets that allow the reception of TV on mobile devices. The company supplies its chips to Samsung, Motorola, ZTE, Huawei, Mio, Garmin, Dell and others.
The new funding will be to expand its product to the North American mobile market. The company just raised $23.5 million in funding a year ago.
Posted: 24 May 2011 06:43 AM PDT
Yesterday, Mike broke the news on stage at Disrupt that SV Angel is doubling down with Yuri Milner once again to invest in all willing Y Combinator grads. Today, SV Angel is announcing another partnership, this time Ron Conway & crew are looking east. SV Angel and Lerer Ventures– which also announced a new fund yesterday– will announce today that the two are entering a formal partnership to invest in one another’s deals.
There are limits to how cozy they are getting. The funds are still distinct, with no direct financial stake in one another. And there’s no requirement or quid pro quo. Indeed, SV Angel’s fund is much larger, so there will likely be more West Coast deals being closed between the two. Like the Y Combinator deal, this is just an offer on the table for all new SV Angel and Lerer Venture portfolio companies. “It will always be at the discretion of the entrepreneur,” said SV Angel’s Ron Conway backstage at Disrupt.
So with such loose assurances, how do we know this partnership will amount to more than a nice marketing announcement? Because the two firms– while pretty established in their own spheres– have a lot to gain from one another. When you’re talking about being the very first money into a company one thing matters: Amazing dealflow. And if you aren’t living day-to-day enmeshed in a startup community you are miss the serendipitous moments that lead to robust deal flow. No matter how good an investor is things fall through the cracks. It’s the most intensely local part of being a venture capitalist, and if you are out of sight that’s an opportunity for a competitor. Lerer Ventures knows it can never match SV Angel’s deal flow, so it’s not going to even try. Likewise, even a firm as established as SV Angel doesn’t have Lerer’s tentacles into the New York media and advertising world– particularly now that former Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau is managing the fund full time. “We’ll be each other’s eyes and ears on each coast so hopefully we don’t miss the next great company,” Hippeau says.
Think of the random stories you hear about Conway solving a problem for a portfolio company by making a phone call to a well placed friend at a tech giant. If one of his companies takes Lerer’s money, Hippeau could make the same call in the media sphere. And for New York-based startups, it’s vice-versa. “This is all about creating more leverage in our relationships,” says David Lee, SV Angel managing partner.
I asked Conway and Lee if this was a continuation of the Yuri Milner strategy, and we should expect more deals like these when appropriate. One word: “Absolutely.”
Posted: 24 May 2011 06:00 AM PDT
Opera Software makes some damn fine browsers, as tens of millions of people around the world can attest. Apple products like the iPhone 4 and the iPad, of course, come with a decent mobile version of Safari, so users only get to enjoy Opera’s products when they actually visit the App Store and look for a replacement browser.
The company is today releasing Opera Mini 6 for iOS (iTunes link), and I had the chance to test it on a second-generation iPad. My guess it will get downloaded by masses of people once again – or at least it should IMHO.
Available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad now free of charge, Opera Software says the browser features up to 90% compression of data traffic for faster browsing, improved display and a refreshed user interface to accommodate the screen size(s).
Most noticeable as far as I’m concerned: Opera Mini 6 for iOS comes with faster and smoother panning and zooming, handy share buttons for quickly sharing pages on a variety of social networks, and the nicely redesigned menus.
Check it out and tell us what you think!
Posted: 24 May 2011 06:00 AM PDT
If you’re not at TechCrunch Disrupt, you’re seriously missing out. I mean even MG flew in all the way from Iceland to finally get here for the festivities. But incase you are stuck at, ugh, work we’ve embedded the livestream above.
You can also follow along by tracking the #TCDisrupt hashtag on Twitter, watching the TechCrunch Disrupt backstage videos or you know, reading TechCrunch. So what are you waiting for, go ahead and Disrupt!
Posted: 24 May 2011 05:38 AM PDT
We’re in the middle of a new industrial revolution. Over 2 bilion people are connected to the Internet – a third of the world’s population and three billion have cell phones. Internet and mobile use is exploding in emerging economies, even contributing to the Arab Spring this year. Meanwhile the worlds developed economies are dealing with the breakdown of copyright and IP because of the Web, and the radical transparency brought by things like Wikileaks and the subsequent amplification of news via social media. So it’s almost amazing that it’s taken this long to have a special “e-G8″ conference to address the rise of technology as a new force in globalisation before the ‘real G8′ meeting.
Hopes are high. Some 1,500 people – tech gurus, entrepreneurs, VCs, big brand tech companies – are attending the event, which is in several huge tents in the Tuileries Garden in Paris. Attendees include Eric E. Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jeffrey P. Bezos of Amazon and Rupert Murdoch of News Corp.
And the agenda, at least on the face of it, looks high minded enough.
But there is also the political aspect. President Nicolas Sarkozy has no doubt timed this to amplify his prestige prior to the G8, and to kick his political opponents while they are down – namely former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who languishes in New York. And chairman of Publicis, Mauarice Levy, said Sarkozy wanted the conference to be like the Internet: “Open Participative and, in a word, free.”
But is it?
Posted: 24 May 2011 04:03 AM PDT
The shares will begin trading later today on NASDAQ under the symbol "YNDX".
The offering would give Yandex a market cap of roughly $8 billion.
The company is thus raising a little over $1.3 billion, and has granted its underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 5.2 million shares to cover eventual over-allotments. Earlier this month, Yandex had priced its IPO at $20 to $22 per share.
Yandex is selling 15.4 million shares (pocketing $385 million), while some of its shareholders are selling an aggregate of roughly 36.8 million shares ($920 million).
Yandex operates the most popular search engine and the most visited website in Russia (it is also the largest Russian Internet company by revenue). In 2010, the company generated 64% of all search traffic in Russian, trumping Google.
In March 2011, Yandex.ru website attracted 38.3 million unique visitors. Aside from Russia, Yandex has operations in Belarus (yandex.by), Kazakhstan (yandex.kz) and Ukraine (yandex.ua). Total revenues for 2010 hovered around $440 million.
Founded back in 1997, Yandex has been reported to be preparing an IPO before, with talks dating back all the way to 2006. In 2008, the company planned for an initial public offering but quickly moved to indefinitely delay those plans due to the global economic turmoil.
Yandex is among the largest high-tech companies in Russia, with an estimated workforce of about 2,500 employees. Currently, Yandex has branches all over Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kazan), Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Simferopol) and in the United States (in Palo Alto, CA, to be exact).
Posted: 24 May 2011 02:56 AM PDT
Conversocial is a real-time social media management system which lets companies run marketing and customer support through Facebook Pages and Twitter. While competitors like coTweet, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Context Optional and Socialite also let you manage Facebook fan pages, Conversocial’s emphasis on enterprise tools somewhat mark it out from the pack.
Today it announces a series A funs raise to the tune of £1.5 million ($2.4m) from European venture capital firm, DFJ Esprit. The London startup plans to grow its platform and extend internationally with this extra firepower. Nic Brisbourne, partner at DFJ Esprit, will be joining the board at Conversocial as non-executive director.
Posted: 23 May 2011 09:50 PM PDT
Word has been circulating for weeks now that Twitter was soon to be swooping up the popular third-party app, TweetDeck. In early May, Mike Arrington reported that the deal was as good as done, but the two companies were not yet willing to publicly release the numbers. Today, CNN and CNET broke the news that TweetDeck has been acquired by Twitter for $40 million. Twitter has yet to officially confirm, but judging by what we’re hearing from sources close to the deal, it’s done and done.
As you may remember, the story of TweetDeck’s acquisition has changed a bit since February, as reports indicated at that point that TweetDeck was on the verge of being acquired by Bill Gross’ UberMedia — the price speculated at between $25 and $30 million. And, as it seems, Twitter was having none of that. They apparently rushed in with a counteroffer — an offer now proved to be on that TweetDeck couldn’t refuse. You can check out TechCrunch EU for the full story on how it all went down.
It seems that Twitter just wasn’t comfortable with allowing UberMedia to snatch another chunk of market share. After all, Twitter can’t just go allowing Twitter-related startups and products to fall into the hands of those companies that aren’t Twitter. Just ask UberTwitter and EchoFon, for example. As Mike reported in early May, sources close to Twitter revealed that an UberMedia acquisition would give them too much leverage over Twitter, and so the bidding war (or really, non-war) was on.
For an alternative perspective, check out Nova Spivack’s thoughts on Twitter and TweetDeck, in which he advised Twitter against buying TweetDeck, saying their money could be better spent elsewhere.
What do you think? Is this a win, lose, or draw for Twitter?
Posted: 23 May 2011 08:58 PM PDT
To kick things off, Jarvis flatly asked Arrington (full disclosure: Mike is my boss) about whether he would consider himself a journalist. Mike replied by saying that he does not consider himself a journalist, likening the current identity of journalist’s to that of priests. “When I think of journalists”, he said, “I think of people who are biased, hiding their bias between theoretically objective text”. That is to say, journalists misappropriate words like “objectivity”, and sometimes tend to be self-righteous about their role as objective observers (my words), when in fact, all reporting is advocation. And, inherently subjective. (Again, my words.)
To elucidate, Arrington then cited the example of a particular journalist telling him that he would not share his political leanings, or how he voted, because it would negate the objectivity in his reporting and how people viewed his content. Both writers were in agreement that this is a common misrepresentation among journalists today — that true objectivity is “bullshit”. Instead, Jarvis said, paraphrasing David Weinberger, that “transparency is the new objectivity”, that being transparent about one’s investments and personal affiliations should be standard in presenting content to one’s readers, and is what readers should expect. But it not exactly tantamount to calling one’s self “objective”, at least in the way the term is used by many journalists today.
Arrington then asked Jarvis if a reporter covering Obama should, say, disclose their political affiliation in the footer of the column. Jarvis said that he thinks they should, and that he has had similar conversations with various editors, including at the New York Times. Those he’s talked to tend to disagree, saying that their best arguement being that if one’s personal philosophies are reduced to a single word, like “Democrat”, it is counterproductive to reporting. Jarvis cited the example of a reporter covering religion and disclosing that they used to be a Catholic — in the end this information is irrelevant — just because someone is Catholic, doesn’t mean that you can immediately deduce exactly where they come down on the issue of, say, abortion.
Jarvis went on to say that the architecture of journalism is beginning to mimic the Internet, in that journalists are becoming curators of a conversation that would go on without them; it is a matter of adding value and plucking the best parts of news and conversation that a journalist may not be breaking themselves. Even though journalists may like to think otherwise. Therein seems to lie the reason why there continues to be a perceived gulf between “journalists” and “bloggers”, even though the differences today, thanks to the Web, are far more nuanced.
The two then went on to discuss the validity of Arrington investing in startups that he and we other writers at TechCrunch cover frequently. (Mike discussed the change to his investment policy in a recent post.) Arrington then touched on an announcement that Arianna Huffington made on stage in an earlier panel, in which he revealed that the two are in talks over creating a site (presumably among prominent bloggers and journalists), in which issues like disclosure and (as Mike said) “whether he has the right to do what he does” will be discussed at length.
Arrington asked Jarvis to participate, and also mentioned that they are interested in bringing Jay Rosen into the conversation as well. It is the beginning of a long discussion about what journalism and blogging will look like going forward, and how they (could one day?) exist symbiotically from top to bottom.
For more, check out the whole video below:
Posted: 23 May 2011 04:18 PM PDT
Symantec is probably best known for its widely proliferated (perhaps even ubiquitous) Norton security products, but of late it has been making a play at eDiscovery platforms, a strategic move, considering Gartner values the market at around $1.7 billion, and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 14 percent. What’s more, Symantec spent $2 billion last year in acquisitions, $1.25+ billion of that coming in its acquisition of VeriSign, Inc.
While the company’s stock languished last year, and shareholders and more pushed for the company to break up, Symantec has pushed on. Symantec expects Clearwell to increase the company’s ability to provide its customers with archiving and backup services, considering that Clearwell is one of the more well-known information management platforms out there. I mean, hey, it was worth $390 million. Symantec’s acquisition should also reduce the amount of time and latency for getting important information to its customers.
"Archiving and eDiscovery are two critical elements of information governance," said Aaref Hilaly, president and chief executive officer, Clearwell Systems, in a press release. "By joining forces and combining the industry's leading archiving solution with the industry's leading eDiscovery solution, we will be uniquely positioned to deliver a seamless, integrated information governance workflow, benefitting both Symantec and Clearwell customers."
Posted: 23 May 2011 03:59 PM PDT
Do@ is a search engine that serves up results from your apps instead of from the web, served up in a delicious HTML5-based swipeable interface.
Rexly is a social media recommendation engine that automatically ranks recommendations based on trusted relationships, and unlike some others, is cross-platform. Right now, they’re just doing music, but they hope to index movies, books, and anything else you can buy and trade online.
Not sure what to do? Put in what sort of outing you have in mind and what mood you’re in, and let Weotta pick a plan for you. Integrates with Facebook so you can easily include friends and let them veto or suggest places.
A photo stream that’s based not on people you know, but on topics or events you’re interested in. Pick “wine” and get the latest wine pics, or pick “Disrupt” and get all the pictures from this event.
Haven’t you always felt like you could be wasting your time more efficiently – and with a flashier interface? Deja lets you navigate through tons of videos with a slick zooming wall of video, organized by user or topic.
That’s it for the first session. Stay tuned for the rest.
Posted: 23 May 2011 03:52 PM PDT
The TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Alley audience choice winner today is Happy Toy Machine, which allows you to design and create plush toys online.
The site allows adults and children to customize their plush toys by colors, size, body parts, shape, type, build and more. When you are satisfied with your design, you can actually have your creation built and sent you. It’s sort of like the Build-A-Bear on steroids.
Price ranges from $30 to $50, which is comparable to Build-A-Bear’s prices. The startup says the design element of the site is designed specially so that children can interact with the site and be able to design toys on their own.
In the future, the company would like to partner with video games or other entertainment properties to leverage Happy Toy Machine’s platform.
Here’s their presentation
Posted: 23 May 2011 03:35 PM PDT
My Mom meticulously scans every credit card, cable or cell phone bill to ensure that no errors have been made or hidden fees have been issued. I, on the other hand, don’t have the time or the patience to do this. And I’m sure along the line, I’ve been overcharged or scammed in some way. BillGuard, a startup launching to the public today at TechCrunch Disrupt, aims to alert users of unwanted charges such as hidden fees, billing errors, scams and fraud on credit card bills.
The essentially crowdsources scams by alerting you when a charge on your bill is flagged by anyone else using BillGuard or posting scams on online forums. The startup will also take into account its own analysis (which the company has been working on for the past year) and monitor the web for any complaints about credit card scams.
Here’s their presentation.
Here’s how it works. You sign up your credit card accounts on BillGuard. The startup’s proprietary algorithm then aggregates, mines, normalizes data from its own reports and from its crowdsourcing engine. BillGuard will then scan your card activity daily, and email you when your attention is required for a suspicious transaction on your monthly bill.
While many credit card companies have fraud protection services, it’s up to the consumer to be vigilant about any billing errors or hidden fees on credit card bills. Plus, I can’t remember how many times I’ve signed up for a ‘free service’ only to be be charged when the terms of the service expired (and I’ve conveniently forgotten to cancel my subscription).
The same way in which an identity theft service monitors your credit report for fraud, BillGuard tracks your credit card bills so you don’t have to. The site is already in discussions with a number of major banks and identity theft companies to distribute and recommend BillGuard’s service.
And the site has caught the attention of a number of well known investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Chris Dixon, Ron Conway, IA Ventures, Howard Lindzon and Yaron Galai; raising $3 million in funding.
Q: I thought that was awesome. No questions.
A: I Agree, a home run.
Q: We send you a monthly scan report, whenever we have alerts, we email you.
Q: I think you’ll have a huge interest in this from the general population because you are going against the bad guys.
Q: What did you to before this.
A: I built Pando, we have a team of security experts, data scientists, mathematicians.
Q: How far back do you go?
A: Last 90 days.
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