Facebook opened its doors to venture capitalists on Tuesday.******The world’s largest social media company, which landed $200 million in funding in May, wasn’t trying to drum up any more cash for itself.******Instead, it was promoting a couple dozen start-up companies that leverage its technology and could further the strategy of making Facebook a key building block for Internet businesses and services.******The start-ups were selected by Facebook earlier this year through fbFund, a joint venture between Facebook, Accel and Founders Fund that provides seed funding (typically between $15,000 and $75,000 per start-up) to Facebook application developers.******The start-ups toiled through the summer in Facebook’s erstwhile Palo Alto, California headquarters and Tuesday was show-time: a chance to show off their progress and, they hoped, secure a more substantial chunk of funding from the VCs assembled.******Unlike traditional Facebook applications, such as games that run directly within the Facebook Web site, many of the products showcased on Tuesday were stand-alone Web sites that tap into a Web surfer’s network of Facebook friends using the Facebook Connect service.******Thread.com, an online dating site, allows people to cull through their Facebook friends’ friends, searching for say, single women in a certain age group, and to contact a prospective date via a trusted friend.******Another start-up, Sociable, provides a service that it said can boost sales for online retailers by integrating transactions with Facebook. The company said it was already generating revenue and that concert-promoter LiveNation is a customer.******According to Founders Fund’s Dave McClure, who organized Tuesday’s event, five fbFund companies are already break-even or profitable, and another three expect to get there by the end of the year – no small feat given the rough economy.******Facebook will need more such success stories as it seeks to transform its own company from the Web’s top social networking destination into the underlying social fabric of all Web sites.
from The Great Debate:
Do once-hot Internet start-ups who miss a date with destiny ever truly get a second chance? History says no, even for once-great names like Netscape, AOL and MySpace.
Skype hopes to be the exception. On Tuesday, a group led by top Internet financiers in Silicon Valley and Europe agreed to pay eBay $1.9 billion in cash for a 65 percent stake in the one-time web calling sensation.
The deal values Skype at a face-saving $2.75 billion, well above the $1.7 billion at which it has been valued on the ecommerce giant's books. Ebay also stands to keep a 35 per cent stake in the company.
Google may not be buying companies as often as it once did, but that’s not stopping it from doling out funds to promising start-ups.
On Wednesday, Mountain View, California-based Pixazza, a developer of photo-based online ad technology, said Google was among the group of investors that plunked down $5.75 million in Series A funding. Pixazza’s technology lets Web surfers click on portions of online images to get more information, say the brand and price of the shoes that a celebrity is wearing in a photo.
“Google’s investment underscores the innovative and promising nature of Pixazza’s new advertising technology,” Pixazza said in a statement announcing the deal.