MediaFile

Blue Jeans Network wants video meetings to be commonplace

One year after its launch, Blue Jeans Network has expanded the reach of its interoperable videoconferencing service and secured a third round of funding worth $25 million.

The company’s goal: making video meetings as functional as a pair of blue jeans.

Users of the service can access a meeting through Skype, Google, Microsoft Lync, Polycom, Cisco, traditional phone and now directly through their web browser. My interview with the Blue Jeans Network executives was a perfect test of Blue Jeans’ interoperability, with the four members of the conference on Skype, Polycom, a web browser and a landline phone.

Blue Jeans’ recent launch of a web browser platform increases the number of people who can join video meetings by more than 2.3 billion, its executives said. Access now requires only a webcam and Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. Installing necessary plugins takes about 20 to 30 seconds, chief commercial officer Stu Aaron said.

Blue Jeans Network has also expanded its partnerships to include Cisco Jabber, Cisco TelePresence Systems and native SIP support. Aaron said the company’s approach to developing its platform has been “client-agnostic” so that users have the most options possible.

All about the Benjamins, or How Mark Zuckerberg cemented control of Facebook $100 at a time

One hundred dollars doesn’t go very far these days.

But for Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, a C-Note was the key to cementing his control over the social networking phenomenon.

As we learned last week when Facebook filed its prospectus for a $5 billion initial public offering, Zuckerberg has the voting rights to shares owned by some of Facebook’s biggest stakeholders, including venture capital firm Accel Partners, Digital Sky Technologies and former Facebook President Sean Parker.

In an amended filing on Wednesday, Facebook provided a little more color about the agreements that contributed to Zuck’s controversial control of 57 percent of the company’s voting shares.

Is Zynga’s lead slipping on Facebook?

Electronic Arts, the second-largest video game company in the U.S., is stealing market share away from Zynga, the top dog in social games on Facebook, according to a new report on gaming behavior.

The report, released on Wednesday, is based on data that tracks the game play of more than 10 million users of Raptr, a website that automatically tracks its users’ video game activity on Facebook, consoles and PCs.

 “EA has stolen 10 to 25 percent playtime from Zynga’s top games,” the report said.

Zynga herding its users like sheep from game to game: data

Social games company Zynga is adept at converting its current players to its new games, just as smoothly as some of the top video game franchises like Call of Duty, according to a new 21-page report by the game tracking service and social network Raptr.

The report takes into account more than 3 million Zynga players who use Raptr’s game tracking applications.

“If Zynga were to release a new game tomorrow, our data reveals that 90 percent of users of that new game will come from an old game,” said Dennis Fong, Raptr’s co-founder.

UPDATED: News Corp’s new independent director Breyer not so, says investor

Rupert and Wendi Murdoch

Updated with official News Corp response below.

We don’t know what quite to make of this but CtW Investment Group,  a union-affiliated shareholder lobbyist, is raising a stink about News Corp’s new independent director appointment, Accel Partners’ Jim Breyer.

CtW, which claims its affiliations represent pension funds of some 5.5 million Americans or some $200 billion in assets, says Breyer, a venture capitalist best known as an early investor in Facebook, isn’t as independent as the board claims.

In a 1,400-word letter addressed to Viet Dinh, chair of News Corp’s nominating & corporate governance committee,  CtW lists a range of claims about Breyer’s relationships with News Corp, the Murdochs and his record as a director with major names like Wal-Mart and Dell.

Accel pumps $60 million into Atlassian. Who?

What do Facebook, Shell and Pfizer have in common?

They all use software by Atlassian for product development. The Atlassian name may not have the same familiar ring to it as heavyweight software players like Oracle or Salesforce.com, but the company just got a major endorsement from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners.

AtlassianDudeAccel invested $60 million in Atlassian on Thursday, representing the firms’ largest single-round bet on a company in nearly a decade.

The cash infusion should allow the 8-year old Australian company to ramp up its international expansion, make some acquisitions and provide liquidity to employees,  said Accel partner Ryan Sweeney, who led the investment along with Accel partner Richard Wong.

from Summit Notebook:

Even the best VCs strikeout — a lot

venture
Got access to a couple million bucks and want to be a venture capitalist? A miner of start-up business gold? Then get used to being wrong.

That's one lesson we learned during a discussion with Venture Capitalists at the Reuters Technology Summit: even the most successful investors -- those who finance the bandwagon others jump on when it comes to the likes of Facebook, Myspace and Twitter -- meet with entrepreneurs, like what they hear, write a check, and watch the investment go up in smoke.

Rich Wong, partner of Accel Partners, an investor in social networking site Facebook and mobile advertising network AdMob, the rate of picking winners is much like baseball batting averages, where top players like Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols or Ichiro Suzuki do not get a hit 7 of every 10 times they come to the plate.

from Summit Notebook:

VC’s Lament: the ones that got away

Vic Gundotra, Vice President of engineering at Google (R) and Omar Hamoui, founder and CEO of AdMob converse during the "Mobile: Where's The Money Going?" panel at the Fortune Tech Brainstorm 2009 in Pasadena, California July 23, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser
Whether it’s passing up on a ticket to Woodstock or not buying Apple stock at $80 a share in January 2009, everybody has regrets.

So what do VCs regret?

We asked the panel of three money-men gathered for the VC Panel at the Reuters Technology Summit for their biggest laments when it comes to the deals they let get away.

“For me the one that comes to mind is AdMob,” said Khosla Ventures partner David Weiden, referring to the mobile advertising firm that Google announced plans to acquire for $750 million in November.

Google loses another executive

Another high-level Google executive is jumping ship.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, president of Asia Pacific and Latin American operations at Google, is joining venture capital firm Accel Partners as CEO-in-Residence.

Singh Cassidy, a six-year Google veteran, was responsible for Google’s commercial operations across 103 different countries in APAC and Latin America, according to an announcement by Accel Partners.

Singh Cassidy is no stranger to Accel Partners: she co-founded an online finance start-up in the late 90s called Yodlee, which was backed by the venture capital firm.