Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hot end of July on the web 2.0 scene

Action Engine Raises $20 Million
Mobile applications developer Action Engine has raised $20 million in new round led by Baker Capital. Previous investors Northwest Venture Associates and The Spangler Group also participated in the round. The company develops mobile device software that allows media companies and mobile operators to provide music , video and other content on mobiles.

Alibaba confirms IPO
China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba has submitted its first initial public offering (IPO) application to the listing committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and may become the largest high-tech share on the Hong Kong bourse. Alibaba’s Chairman Jack Ma confirmed the news in the company’s annual meeting over the weekend. Tao Ran, a company spokesman, said there was no timetable for the market listing and also declined to disclose any details of the IPO.

Scribd Competitor Gets Angel Funding
Docstoc , the online document exchange community, has reportedly raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding , and may prove to be a Scribd competitor. The site is still in private beta. With Docstoc, you can share any document type, from Word, to PDF and Illustrator.

Boo-box Gets $300K for Contextual Ads Service
Boo-box , the contextual marketing company, has raised $300,000 in a round of seed funding , led by Monashees Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. The funds will be used for product development and expansion of the Brazil-based company.

Big Hedge Fund Investment in Zazzle
Silicon valley based Zazzle will be closing a second round of financing in the $30 million range, at a $300+ million pre-money valuation. The round is expected to be led by an as-yet-unnamed hedge fund.

Reid Hoffman invests in
The company which has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners, is also the latest investment by Reid Hoffman, godfather of Web 2.0 start-ups , and also co-founder of LinkedIn., a Waltham, MA.-based outfit that connects families to ‘qualified care givers with a national network of trusted providers.’

NowPublic Gets $10.6 Million For Crowd Sourced News
‘Crowd sourced’ news network has closed a $10.6 milion series A round of financing led by Rho Ventures with seed investors Brightspark and the Working Opportunity Fund participating. Crowd sourcing is part of the widely expanding ‘ citizen journalism ‘ category, which encompasses all the new ways non-professionals can participate in the news reporting process.

BuddyTV Gets $2.8M for Fan Site
BuddyTV , the online television informational community, has raised about $2.8 million in a Series A round of funding , with Gemstar-TV Guide International leading the round. The site lets you create a profile listing your favorite shows and actors.

CoolIris Gets $1M of its $3M Series A Round
CoolIris , the link preview service , has secured about $1 million of a $3.05 million Series A round of funding . The round was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers. Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, has also taken a seat on CoolIris’ board.

3Jam Nabs $4M in Series B Funding
3Jam , the text messaging service, has raised $4 million in a Series B round of funding . The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, and return investors New Enterprise Associates and NetService Ventures also participated.

MediaWhiz Buys AuctionAds
Performance marketing company MediaWhiz has snatched up eBay affiliate marketing service AuctionAds , which launched back in March. The price was not disclosed. AuctionAds is an advertising widget that serves contextually relevant eBay auctions based on tags supplied by the publisher.

Wikia Acquires Grub from Looksmart
As part of their ongoing quest to create an open, people-powered search platform, Wikia has acquired Grub, a ditributed web crawling technology , from Looksmart, Wikia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced this morning during his keynote address at the at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon.

Microsoft Acquires Advertising Exchange Platform AdECN
Microsoft announced today that it had agreed to acquire AdECN , an advertising exchange platform company based near Santa Barbara. AdECN offers a real-time, auction-based, neutral exchange for online display advertising that works in a similar way to stock exchanges. A member of the AdECN exchange buys on the exchange for its advertisers and sells on the exchange for its publishers.

Twitter Gets Their Venture Round
Twitter has raised a round of financing , led by Union Square Ventures. The size of the round has not been disclosed (yet), but additional investors include Charles River Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Dick Costolo, Ron Conway, and Naval Ravikant. The service, which has around 300,000 users, has grown rapidly in recent months. Pownce, Kyte and others are competitors.

Family-friendly social networking start-up lands VC, will hire 4
CircleBuilder , a family-friendly church-oriented social networking site , has raised $800,000 from Great Lakes Angels and other venture capital organizations. CEO and co-founder Howard Brown currently runs the start-up from his Franklin home, having relocated to the area from Silicon Valley to be closer to family. Sells for $350 Million has closed another chapter in its long journey from a $7.5 million million domain name bought on a hope and a prayer, selling to RH Donnelley for $350 million ( WSJ reporting up to $360 million). RH Donnelley beat out Dow Jones and the New York Times during the bidding . Lands $5 million
Event based social network has taken an additional $5 million in funding , in a round led by the sites original investors General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

Grockit Raises Cash, Prepares ‘Massive Multiplayer Online Learning’ Product.
When we last wrote about San Francisco based Grockit , in late 2006, they were unfunded. Their business idea of holding low-cost GMAT prep courses over Webex was just getting off the ground. Now they are funded - $2.7 million total ($2.3 million from Benchmark, $400k from angel investors Mark Pincus, Rob Lord, Reid Hoffman Thomas Ryan and others) in a Series A round was closed last month. And they are changing their model completely.

Respectance Gets $1.5 Million
Respectance , which is unique among social networks since it’s dedicated to remembering those who have died, has taken $1.5 million in a series A funding in a round led by Solid Ventures and Big Bang Ventures. The site also launches officially today, and says it has taken funding at a ‘pre-user’ stage.

GuildCafe Raises Funding for MMORPG Network
GuildCafe has raised an undisclosed amount of venture capital funding from IDG Ventures Boston. The service that enables groups to build websites for gamers to find friends and new game content launched late last year, and has done well to create a hub for people that are heavily involved with MMORPGs like World of Warecraft, Guild Wars and Lord of the Rings Online. Users can connect with each other through their gaming avatars and form groups (guilds) that can move between virtual worlds together.

AOL Gets Its Ad Network
We hear that AOL will announce the acquisition of New York-based Tacoda this morning, a behavior targeting advertising company that was founded in 2001. The deal size, which we haven’t had confirmed, is likely far smaller than Microsoft’s $6 billion for aQuantive , Yahoo’s $680 million for RightMedia , or Google’s $3.1 billion for DoubleClick . The price might be low enough that it isn’t being disclosed at all.

UGO Acquired By Hearst, Should Be Announced Today
We got a tip earlier this evening that Hearst acquired New-York based UGO and will announce the deal tomorrow. It sounds like Forbes got a tip as well, and a better one: they’re saying the price should be around $100 million . UGO is a popular new media site that was founded in 1997 and, according to Forbes, is generating around $30 million/year in revenue.

Nokia acquires Twango
Nokia and Twango today announced that Nokia has acquired substantially all assets of Twango ( Twango provides a comprehensive media sharing solution for organizing and sharing photos, videos and other personal media. By acquiring Twango, Nokia will be able to offer people an easy way to share multimedia content through their desktop and mobile devices.

HP Acquires Opsware For $1.6 billion
HP has acquired IT Automation company Opsware for $1.6 billion. Whilst any acquisition of this size is interesting in itself, the back story to Opsware is even more so; Opsware was originally LoudCloud, a Web 1.0 company that took $350 million in funding during the Web 1.0 boom.

Cfares Raises $4.5M & Offers New Comparison Tools
Cfares , the airfare search tool, has announced a round $4.5 million of venture capital and has appointed a few new members to its team. The round was led by Claremont Creek Ventures, with previous investor Garage Technology Ventures partnering as well.

Google Acquires Image America for Aerial Imaging Tech
Google’s acquisition spree continued today with the announcement that they’ve purchased Image America , a company that builds ‘high resolution cameras for the collection of aerial imagery ‘. The Clayton, MO-based company provided high resolution black and white imagery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and supplied imagery to Google Maps and Google Earth.

hi5 Takes $20 Million Funding
San Francisco-based social network hi5 has taken $20 million in funding in a round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. The site reports 30 million members and 200 million pageviews/day, making it one of the largest players. So why the lack of hype?

FaceBook’s First Acquisition: Parakey
Their first acquisition : Facebook has bought Parakey , the yet-to-launch ‘ web operating system ‘ created by Firefox co-founders Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. The price isn’t being disclosed, but Facebook should be issuing a press release this afternoon.

Loopt Calls Down $2.25M of a $12M Series B Round of Funding
Loopt , the service that lets you geo-locate friends with mobile phones, has called down $2.25 million of a $12 million Series B round of financing . This means that while Loopt has raised $12 million, its requested access to $2.25 of this larger amount, possibly to increase its working capital costs.

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