SoundCloud gets $50 million in new funding.
Stack Overflow, Now Stack Exchange Inc, Raises $12M From Union Square Ventures And Others. Instagram Filters Through Suitors To Capture $7 Million In Funding Led By Benchmark. There have been few startups that have gotten as hot as quickly as Instagram. The photo-sharing application for the iPhone surged past 100,000 users less than a week after they first launched. In less than three months, they hit a million users. Now they’re well north of 1.5 million users. Not surprisingly, that kind of growth has attracted a lot of interest from investors. In fact, many of the big players were fighting for a chance to get in on the startup’s Series A, we’ve heard. And now, we have a winner. Benchmark Capital is leading Instagram’s $7 million Series A round. Benchmark’s Matt Cohler, who spearheaded the deal alongside Peter Fenton, will join Instagram’s Board.
Systrom declined to give Instagram’s valuation based on the funding, though it’s probably safe to assume that it’s well north of $20 million. Thus ends months of speculation about the Instagram funding. So, they have the money. What about the API? Of course, they don’t really need to catch anymore on fire. Social Web browser RockMelt lands $30 million and a Facebook investor. Investors are betting big on a Web browser built by Netscape veterans for the Facebook generation. Even though RockMelt only has a minuscule share of the browser market, some of Silicon Valley's top venture capitalists are throwing their weight and money behind it.
New investors Accel Partners and Khosla Ventures teamed up with Andreessen Horowitz to lead a $30-million funding round in the start-up. They were joined by Intuit chairman Bill Campbell, First Round Capital's Josh Kopelman and angel investor Ron Conway. Jim Breyer, famous for leading Accel's investment in Facebook, and Vinod Khosla, the clean-tech investor making his first major Web investment in years, have joined RockMelt's board as observers.
That deepens RockMelt's connection to Facebook. Marc Andreessen and Breyer both sit on the board of the world's most popular social networking site. The new funding comes on the heels of a product partnership with Facebook. The Facebook partnership will be a model for others, he said. Color Labs (startup): At what valuation did Color raise $41 million. Jolicloud Raises $4.2M From Atomico, Mangrove; Zennström Takes Board Seat. Appsfire Introduces Live Rankings For iPhone Apps, Scores More Cash. Mobile applications discovery and sharing service provider Appsfire has just launched a new product called AppTrends, which essentially delivers near real-time rankings of iPhone apps based on the chatter on Twitter. Rankings – currently limited to the top 20 apps on the website – are based on what Appsfire determines are noteworthy items in the App Store virtually in real-time.
Appsfire crawls Twitter for links to iPhone apps, regardless of whether the iTunes URLs are shortened or not, and determines which apps are hot and which are not based on their popularity on the micro-sharing service. To do so, Appsfire looks at the number of mentions of applications, all while filtering out bots, repeat tweets from the same users, updates from seemingly fake accounts and activity tweets such as leaderboard or points sharing. AppTrends gets updated on an hourly basis, and you can view evolution for the apps in the top list for the past hour, 12 hours or full day. With 2 Million Downloads Under Its Belt, Appsfire Raises $3.6 Million Series A. Sequoia Leads $10 Million Investment In Dolphin, The Customizable Android Browser. The desktop browser wars are fiercer than ever, with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and *cough* Internet Explorer all in a heated race for users (and new features).
But there’s a relatively new market that’s still ripe for a surge in browser innovation: mobile. All of the aforementioned browsers already have mobile incarnations, but there are some new mobile-only browsers popping up as well. And today MoboTap, the company behind the Dolphin Browser, is getting a big boost: it’s announcing that it’s closed a $10 million Series A funding round let by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Matrix Partners. Sequoia partner Kui Zhou will be joining MoboTap’s board. The company first launched the Dolphin browser 15 months ago — it’s since been downloaded 8 million times, and has 4 million monthly active users (1 million of whom are using the app daily). The new 6.0 edition of the browser, which launches today, also brings with it an important new feature: it’s free. Turntable.fm and the Siren Song of the Start-up Pivot. By Ben Popper 7/07/11 9:25am Share this: Pivot Prof. Billy Chasen There is no more overused and reviled word in the world of tech start-ups than pivot.
It seems to capture the manic energy of the current tech industry, in which an idea can get millions in funding before building a product and, if the users never materialize, or the business model never emerges amidst all hype, simply change their direction and try something new. No company better epitomizes this idea of second chances than Turntable.fm, a social music site, born out of the ashes of a failed venture called Stickybits. With little momentum and cash running low, they decided to pull a monster pivot.
Exclusive: Turntable.fm’s #1 Spinner, DJ Woooooo, Shares his Secrets Update: Fred Wilson, Kleiner Perkins and Accel in Bidding War Over Turntable.fm “Pivoting is sort of unique to the tech world,” said Kevin Ryan, probably New York’s most successful serial entrepreneur. As one of the co-founders of betaworks, Mr. Money Morning Undo. Although Many Investors Are Spinning, Turntable.fm Has Not Yet Picked A DJ. Although many investors are spinning for the chance to invest in Turntable.fm, the hot music startup has not yet picked a DJ, despite reports to the contrary. Business Insider claims that Turntable has raised $7.5 million at a $37.5 million valuation and “that term sheets were indeed signed yesterday.”
But reached a few hours ago as he was boarding a plane, co-founder and chairman Seth Goldstein told me, “We have not closed any new financing.” There is certainly a lot of interest in Turntable from VCs who want to fund its next round. The buzz among venture investors is that there is intense competition for the deal, particularly between Union Square’s Fred Wilson, Accel, and Kleiner Perkins. Wilson is the clear favorite (Turntable is based in New York City), but he is being outbid by Accel and Kleiner. The rumor is that Wilson offered Turntable a $25 million pre-money valuation, while Accel and Kleiner offered double. It is social music discovery at its best. Accel, Khosla, and Andreessen Horowitz Pour Another $30 Million Into Social Browser RockMelt. Is there a future for social browser startup RockMelt? Despite attracting only a few hundred thousand active users since its much-hyped launch, the company filled with ex-Netscape rockstars and backed by former Netscape founder Marc Andreessen just managed to raise another $30 million in a B round led by Accel Partners and Khosla Ventures, with Andreessen Horowitz, Ron Conway, Bill Campbell and Josh Kopelman also participating.
Jim Breyer of Accel and Vinod Khosla will be joining the board as observers. That’s some pretty serious money. What do these investors see in RockMelt that most users don’t? Could it have anything to do with the special interest Facebook is showing towards the social browser? After all, both Marc Andreessen and Jim Breyer are now board members of both RockMelt and Facebook. There are a few possibilities here. And that brings us to the second possibility. But getting millions of users costs money. Up until now, RockMelt has depended on viral distribution. Why the Browser Matters. Lost some real n%^$as I knew from a long time agoBut Heaven or Hell, I'm hoping that they be where I’m a go—Lil Wayne, Swag Surfin Before my partner Marc Andreessen and his friends at the University of Illinois invented the browser in 1993, most people thought only scientists and researchers would use the Internet.
The Internet was thought to be too arcane, insecure and slow to meet real business needs. Even after the team introduced Mosaic, the world’s first browser, almost nobody thought the Internet would be significant beyond the scientific community—least of all the most important technology industry leaders who were busy building proprietary alternatives.
In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find much written arguing that the Internet would be meaningful in those days. The implications of the propriety vision were not good. It’s difficult to overstate the momentum that the proprietary Information Super Highway carried. Rockmelt and the next wave of innovation. Flipboard. Path. San Francisco-based Path, a mobile social network, has raised a Series A Round of funding. The $8.5 million round was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Index Ventures. New investor Digital Garage Japan also joined the round, as did previous investor First Round Capital. Chi-Hua Chien and Mike Volpi from Kleiner and Index, respectively, joined the board of directors. Co-founder Dustin Mierau also joined the board as part of the round.
The company has now raised a total of $11.2 million. Path is also moving away from its focus on complete privacy within the network. Path is now going to widen that a bit. Morin also says an Android app is in development, and it will be coming soon. Google Tried To Buy Path For $100+ Million. Path Said No. Yesterday we reported on Path’s new $8.5 million venture round, led by Kleiner Perkins and Index Ventures. I was curious about the valuation and pulled on a couple of threads. What unraveled was a stunning story about a startup that almost ran out of cash, a rebuffed $100+ million buyout offer from Google, and, finally, a new round of financing. Path is still very small, with just “hundreds of thousands” of users, said the company yesterday.
It’s a private mobile network limited to just 50 friends, which makes viral spreading difficult. But we’re also hearing that 20% of active users are using it daily – a Zynga-like engagement rate that is a sign that at least some people really connect with Path. In early December Path had a signed term sheet with Kleiner Perkins and Index. But Path turned the offer down. The decision to turn Google down was not unanimous, according to sources, and may have become what some people are describing as “extremely contentious.”
Seems crazy? Disqs. Foursquare. Foursquare, the geo-mobile startup everybody tried to invest in or buy, now has officially closed its Series B funding round. The “wire transfer heard ’round the world,” as board member Bryce Roberts puts it, was for $20 million, giving the company a $95 million pre-money valuation. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, as previously reported, with existing investors Union Square Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures participating. CEO Dennis Crowley says the fundraising was “a lot of work” and plans to use the money to staff up and keep adding to the product. “It’s all about building a team that can churn out new product,” he tells me. “We’ve been dreaming up these things for the past 10 years and now we have the opportunity to build them all.”
The money will also help pay for more office space. His 27 employees are already too big for the startup’s current New York City offices, and Foursquare is about to move into new digs upstairs in the same building. Gowalla. Posterous. San Francisco based Posterous, a fast growing publishing platform, has taken a $4.4 million investment from Redpoint Ventures. Partner Satish Dharmaraj, who is also an individual investor in Posterous, led the round and joins the company’s board of directors (and he maintains his personal blog at Posterous here). Posterous, founded in 2008 by Sachin Agarwal, Garry Tan and Brett Gibson, is a Y Combinator company that began as a way for users to very easily post pictures online.
Its appeal lies in its simplicity – users can just email a photo to email@example.com and an account is immediately created for them. But today people are using Posterous for videos and text blogs as well. Users can change the CSS and even use their own domain names – see Guy Kawasaki’s HolKaw blog, for example, which is run by Posterous. The company does have revenue, such as this early deal with Coca Cola for a branded site, but has stood firm in keeping the “nickel and dime” consumer fees out of the product. Tumblr. Tumblr, one of the companies that significantly lowered the bar for starting a blog, has just raised $4.5 million in a Series B round led by Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital, the same investors that put in $750,000 in the first round. CEO David Karp says the investment will give the startup a runway of at least two and a half years, and is introducing paid features at the same time.
Furthermore, former Time Warner technology SVP (and current CEO of Betaworks) John Borthwick is joining the board, while former CNET director John Maloney will act as the New York-based company’s President. Tumblr serves zero ads on its pages, and generated an equal amount of dollars so far. Now, Tumblr will have premium services to make up for that, although it’s unclear what the services will be exactly.
Karp did mention they were gonna be ‘sexy’, so we’re moderately curious now.
Soundcloud. Music Sharing Service SoundCloud Raises $10 Million From Index, Union Square - Peter Kafka - Media. Music start-ups have been a money incinerator for a long time, but that doesn’t stop investors from trying again. Here’s the latest example, which I first wrote about back in October: SoundCloud, a German-based file-sharing service, has raised $10 million in a funding round led by Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures. While lots of music services are still trying to figure out how to make money by distributing copyrighted music you’ve heard of, SoundCloud is taking a different tack. As I wrote last fall: It’s designed to let professional and amateur musicians share their own music with each other and the public, via cloud-based files that the company hosts.Once the tunes are on SoundCloud’s servers, the service makes it easy to move the stuff around the Web, via its own widget and an API that’s showing up on lots of interesting sites, apps, services and devices, including Facebook and Apple’s iPad.
Here’s Wilson:Thoughts on SoundCloud by fredwilson. Uploaded with SoundCloud Android. Hunch. Start-Up Hunch Gains B-Round Funding from Khosla Ventures - Peter Kafka - Media. Hunch, a buzzy start-up that answers questions using crowdsourced recommendations, has resolved one query of its own: Who’s going to fund our B round? Sources tell me that Khosla Ventures is leading a new round that will add another $10 million to $12 million to the start-up’s bank account. General Catalyst Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Ron Conway, who put $2 million into the company a year ago, are reinvesting. I’m told that Gideon Yu, the former CFO of both Facebook and YouTube, is steering the investment for Khosla. Hunch was co-founded by Caterina Fake, who founded Flickr and sold it to Yahoo (YHOO) in 2005, and Chris Dixon, who built SiteAdvisor and sold it to McAfee (MFE) in 2006.
Hunch is still a modest-sized site–its internal numbers put it at 1.2 million unique visitors–but Fake and Dixon are well-regarded entrepreneurs. I asked Fake, Dixon and Yu for comment. A Conversation With Hunch Cofounder Caterina Fake. Quora. Chris dixon: "social premium" - the p/e... Chris dixon: I didn't mean "social prem...